Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 281 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
Common violet, closeup of flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola sororia
Description
The common violet can be violet, white, or white with violet mottling or spots. One of 17 species or violets in Missouri, it occurs statewide in a variety of habitats. Note its heart-shaped or rounded, scalloped leaves, and (usually) the presence of hairs on stems and/or foliage.
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.
Media
Photo of Miami mist flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phacelia purshii
Description
An annual, spring-blooming wildflower, Miami mist has loose coils of small blue flowers with distinctive, delicate fringes on the petal lobes.
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.
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!