Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 317 results
Media
Plains violet, or wayside violet, Viola viarum, plants in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola viarum
Description
The leaf blades of plains, or wayside violet are highly variable, and the plant produces differently shaped leaves as the season progresses. It’s quite similar to cleft violet, but the leaves are smooth and hairless.
Media
Cobaea beardtongue blooming at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Species Types
Scientific Name
Penstemon cobaea
Description
Cobaea beardtongue, or purple beardtongue, is probably Missouri’s showiest species of penstemon. Native to Missouri's southern Ozarks, it is grown statewide for its beauty, and because pollinators like it. It may be purple or white.
Media
Virginia sneezeweed flowers in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium virginicum
Description
Virginia sneezeweed is the rarest of Missouri’s four sneezeweeds. A state endangered and federally threatened species, it occurs in about 60 sites in our southern Ozark counties, primarily in boggy, sinkhole pond habitats.
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
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 yellow violet plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pubescens (formerly V. pensylvanica)
Description
The yellow violet is Missouri's only all-yellow violet. This native wildflower is less common than violet violets. Look for it in low woods, rich slopes, and wooded floodplains.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed Mary flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Collinsia verna
Description
The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are only about a half inch wide, but this pretty wildflower makes up for it by usually appearing in abundance, covering a patch of forest floor with little sky-blue and white “faces.”
Media
Photo of blue phlox (wild sweet William) plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phlox divaricata
Description
A common, eye-catching native spring wildflower, blue phlox is found nearly statewide.
Media
Photo of dead nettle stalk with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lamium purpureum
Description
Dead nettle, like its close relative henbit, is a common, weedy mint that, in early spring, can carpet wide patches of disturbed ground. Recognize dead nettle by the pyramidal look of its purple- or blue-tinted foliage.
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.
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!