Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 109 results
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
Media
Photo of false dragonhead plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physostegia virginiana
Description
False dragonhead is called "obedient plant" because when you push one of the flowers sideways, it "obediently" stays in place for a while.
Media
Photo of Indian hemp plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Apocynum cannabinum
Description
Indian hemp is a shrubby, upright perennial with opposite branches and milky sap. This native plant can be a troublesome weed in crop fields and gardens, but Native Americans used its tough, fibrous stems for rope-making.
Media
Photo of shining blue star flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amsonia illustris
Description
Often found on gravelly Ozark streamsides, shining blue star lifts its clusters of showy, light-blue flowers in late spring. A top choice for native wildflower gardening, it is interesting spring, summer, and fall.
Media
Photo of Carolina false dandelion flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrrhopappus carolinianus
Description
One of several native plants called dandelions, Carolina false dandelion is an annual with sulphur yellow flowers and puffy seedheads.
Media
Photo of two golden aster flowerheads plus a few leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Heterotheca camporum (syn. Chrysopsis villosa var. camporum)
Description
Golden aster can cover entire valleys with its bright yellow flowers. It blooms June through October and is scattered mostly south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of common evening primrose, closeup of flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oenothera biennis
Description
True to its name, common evening primrose is the most common and widespread evening primrose in Missouri. It is most noticeable late in the season, when it reaches its greatest height and the flowers at the top are most visible.
Media
Photo of several cattail flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Typha spp.
Description
Missouri’s cattails are all tall wetland plants with narrow, upright leaves emerging from a thick base, and a central stalk bearing a brown, sausage-shaped flower spike.
Media
White crownbeard plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbesina virginica
Description
White crownbeard is a tall native perennial wildflower with clusters of white flowerheads. It's called “wingstem” for the narrow green wings running along the stem. It’s called “frostweed” because it forms "frost flowers": strange and beautiful formations at the stem bases after a sudden hard frost.
Media
Photo of blooming passionflower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passiflora incarnata
Description
The bizarre, complicated flowers attract attention! The fruits are edible. Passion flower is a nonwoody vine that climbs via tendrils on trees or other structures. It is native to the southeastern United States, including southern Missouri.
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!