Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 192 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
Photo of American feverfew flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenium integrifolium
Description
A common component of high-quality upland prairie, American feverfew, or wild quinine, is a native wildflower that was used to treat fevers or malaria. It's in the composite family.
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 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
Bird's-Foot Violet
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pedata
Description
In springtime, bird's-foot violet can make a glade or bluff top heavenly with its pretty lavender and purple "faces." When you see your first big colony of bird's-foot violets, you will probably never forget it.
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 medick closeup of cloverlike yellow flowerhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
Medicago lupulina
Description
The small, cloverlike flowering heads and trifoliate leaves of black medick are clues that this plant is in the Fabaceae, the bean or pea family. An introduced, weedy species, it is closely related to alfalfa.
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.
Media
Photo of several black-eyed Susan flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rudbeckia hirta
Description
Black-eyed Susan is a tremendously popular native wildflower for gardening. It’s also commonly planted along roadways, so when it’s blooming, May through October, you’re sure to see it somewhere.
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!