Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 125 results
Media
Common ragweed leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Description
Common ragweed is instantly recognizable by its ornate, 2–3 times pinnately lobed, hairy leaves. You’ve probably seen it many times and wondered what it was.
Media
Late boneset plant in bloom, vertical image
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium serotinum
Description
Late boneset, or late-flowering thoroughwort, is a native perennial wildflower with clusters of white, fuzzy-looking flowers. It’s one of nine similar-looking species of thoroughworts in Missouri.
Media
Red, or purple, clover flower head vied from the side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trifolium pratense
Description
Red clover, or purple clover, is the familiar large, pinkish-purple clover that grows in lawns, pastures, and roadsides statewide. A Eurasian native, it was introduced to North America by the middle 1600s.
Media
Closeup of single flowerhead of a New World aster with yellow disk florets and lavender ray florets
Species Types
Scientific Name
Symphyotrichum spp. (formerly Aster spp.)
Description
Missouri has 24 species of New World asters in genus Symphyotrichum. Most have purple or white ray flowers and yellow disk flowers that turn reddish over time. Most bloom in late summer and fall.
Media
Rope dodder stems
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cuscuta spp.
Description
Dodders are easy to identify, even though at first you might not recognize them as plants. These parasitic plants usually look like a hairlike mass of yellow or orange, leafless, wiry, vining stems wrapping around the stems of other plants.
Media
Common purslane plant growing on bare, dry soil
Species Types
Scientific Name
Portulaca oleracea
Description
Purslane can be an aggressive pest in gardens and is one of the worst agricultural weeds in the world. Meanwhile, it’s also a favorite wild vegetable served cooked or raw, and many people cultivate it.
Media
Photo of common gerardia plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agalinis tenuifolia (formerly Gerardia tenuifolia)
Description
Slender false foxglove, or common gerardia, is a small, showy wildflower with slender, opposite leaves and thin, wiry, branching stems. The small, funnel-shaped blossoms are pink or purple, with an upper lip that arches over the 4 hairy stamens.
Media
Photo of common boneset plant flower clusters.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium spp.
Description
Nine white-flowering species of thoroughworts, or bonesets, have been recorded for Missouri. They have rounded flower clusters that look rather fuzzy, because each little composite flowerhead lacks petal-like ray florets.
Media
Photo of water smartweed plant and flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Persicaria amphibia (formerly Polygonum amphibium)
Description
Water smartweed can live submerged in water, or on wet banks or other soggy ground, yet it can also live in merely moist areas. The stems often sprawl as they grow, taking root at the swollen nodes. The small, pink flowers develop in long, erect clusters.
Media
Photo of Michigan lily, or Turk’s cap lily, closeup of flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lilium michiganense
Description
This native lily looks a lot like the Asian “tiger lily” that is commonly cultivated in gardens. Michigan lily, however, has leaves mostly in whorls and lacks the round “bulblets” that tiger lily forms in its leaf axils.
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!