Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 221 results
Media
Photo of an Engelmann’s adder’s tongue with a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ophioglossum spp.
Description
Four species of adder’s tongue ferns occur in Missouri. They don’t look like typical ferns. They have spoon-shaped leaves and an upright spore-bearing stalk.
Media
American, or common boneset, flower clusters and upper stem leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Description
American, or common boneset has small, white flowerheads in flat-topped clusters at the top of the plant. The leaves are hairy, narrowly triangular, and in opposite pairs fused around the stem.
Media
American bugleweed blooming on Tucker Prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycopus americanus
Description
Not the showiest of wildflowers, American bugleweed will catch your eye with its interesting geometry. The narrow, toothed leaves are opposite on the stalks and occur at right angles to the pair below.
Media
Photo of American germander flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Teucrium canadense
Description
Like most other mints, American germander has square stems, opposite leaves, and two-lobed flowers. The unusual configuration of the corolla lobes is the key identifying characteristic.
Media
Photo of American water willow closeup on flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Justicia americana
Description
American water willow is common on gravel bars and other stream banks throughout much of Missouri. The dense colonies of emergent stems have leaves like a willow’s, but the two-lipped flowers resemble little orchids.
Media
Photo of autumn sneezeweed flowerheads, closeup.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium autumnale
Description
Autumn sneezeweed is a late-blooming perennial with conspicuously winged stems. The flowerheads have yellow, domed disks. The ray flowers are fan-shaped, yellow, and notched.
Media
Photo of beefsteak plant showing upper leaves and flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Perilla frutescens
Description
Introduced as an ornamental, beefsteak plant is native to Asia. It is common in moist or dry wooded bottomlands, open valley pastures, and along trails, railroads, and roadsides. It spreads invasively in our state.
Media
Bird's-foot trefoil, close-up of flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lotus corniculatus
Description
Bird’s-foot trefoil forms low patches of bright yellow flowers along roadsides, having been planted to stabilize soil after road construction. Up close, it clearly has pea flowers. The leaves are cloverlike, with two leafy stipules at the base of each.
Media
Photo of blooming bitterweed plant shown from top.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium amarum
Description
Our weediest sneezeweed, bitterweed arrived in Missouri in the late 1800s from its home range in Texas and Louisiana. Like our other heleniums, it has domed disks and yellow, fan-shaped, notched ray florets. Unlike them, the leaves are narrowly linear.
Media
Photo of black mustard flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brassica nigra
Description
Next time you breeze past weedy black mustard on the highway or spot it in a fallow field, think of how important this and other mustards are to the world economy – and to your dinner table.
See Also

About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri

A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!