Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 165 results
Media
Photo of showy partridge pea showing flowers, buds, and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chamaecrista fasciculata (formerly Cassia fasciculata)
Description
The interesting, bright yellow flowers of showy partridge pea are immediately recognizable. At night, the leaflets close and pull upward into a sleeping position.
Media
Photo of crown vetch, closeup of a flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Securigera varia (formerly Coronilla varia)
Description
In summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see big colonies of crown vetch along Missouri's highways. This weedy nonnative plant stabilizes the dirt after road construction but degrades our natural ecosystems.
Media
Photo of small bluet flower showing purplish center
Species Types
Scientific Name
Houstonia pusilla (H. minima; Hedyotis crassifolia)
Description
Small bluet is a mat-forming winter annual that can color entire lawns blue with its tiny flowers. You can start learning to recognize it by noting the reddish-purple color at the center of the blue-violet flowers.
Media
Photo of violet wood sorrel plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oxalis violacea
Description
Missouri has one introduced and four native wood sorrels. Violet wood sorrel is the only one that has magenta or lavender flowers.
Media
Image of Johnny-jump-up.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola bicolor
Description
Johnny-jump-up is a flat-faced violet whose small flowers are a washed-out blue or violet with a very light yellow or white center. Look for it in fields, meadows, glades, rights-of-way, disturbed sites, and possibly your front lawn.
Media
Photo of dittany flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cunila origanoides
Description
Sometimes called wild oregano, dittany, like true oregano, is a member of the mint family and can be used as a culinary herb and in teas. Look for it on dry, wooded slopes in Ozark counties.
Media
Photo of common ground cherry flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physalis longifolia
Description
Common ground cherry is closely related to the tomatillo, which you’ve probably seen in the grocery store or had in a delicious salsa verde at a Mexican restaurant. The fruits of ground cherry are edible, too.
Media
Photo of lance-leaved loosestrife plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lysimachia lanceolata
Description
You can find small colonies of lance-leaved loosestrife nearly throughout the state. It has showy but nodding yellow flowers and opposite, closely spaced, lanceolate or ovate leaves.
Media
Photo of wild potato vine flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ipomoea pandurata
Description
Wild potato vine is related to the sweet potatoes we buy at grocery stores. This native vine is also related to the morning glories that decorate trellises and to the bindweed that plagues gardeners and farmers.
Media
Photo of horse nettle flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Solanum carolinense
Description
Horse nettle is a native perennial with spiny stems and leaves, white to purplish flowers, and toxic fruits that look like tiny yellow tomatoes. It does well in disturbed habitats, and many people consider it a weed.
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!