Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 122 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 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
Photo of ground plum, top of plant, showing flowers and several leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Astragalus crassicarpus (formerly A. mexicanus)
Description
Ground plum is a legume that bears plumlike, edible fruits. Its short, spikelike clusters of pea flowers can be white, cream, yellow, pink, or violet.
Media
Photo of white sweet clover flower cluster showing stalk and flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melilotus albus and M. officinale
Description
These two species of sweet clover are present all over America. Although they have been planted for forage, as bee plants, and as nitrogen-fixers, white and yellow sweet clover are now classified as invasive for their weediness and the problems they pose for natural habitats.
Media
Photo of wild strawberry plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fragaria virginiana
Description
Wild strawberry is one of the parents of the cultivated strawberry and is one of our prized native wild edibles. It’s also a valuable food for innumerable animals, and it’s attractive in native wildflower gardens.
Media
Photo of common cinquefoil plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potentilla simplex
Description
Common cinquefoil, or five-finger, is named for its leaves, which are divided into five fingerlike leaflets. One of seven cinquefoils in Missouri, it blooms from April to June and is scattered nearly statewide.
Media
Photo of Harvey's buttercup plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ranunculus harveyi
Description
A slender little buttercup growing in rocky, dry areas with acidic soils, Harvey’s buttercup occurs mostly in southern Missouri. One key to identify it is to examine the basal and stem leaves, which are quite different.
Media
Photo of Missouri bladderpod flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physaria filiformis (formerly Lesquerella filiformis)
Description
Missouri bladderpod is a small, yellow-flowered member of the mustard family that is found only in southwest Missouri. It gets its name from the spherical fruits or “bladders” that contain seeds.
Media
Photo of a pencil flower, closeup on blossom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Stylosanthes biflora
Description
Pencil flower is small and often overlooked. It has wiry stems, long, bristly hairs, three-parted leaves, and orangish-yellow flowers.
Media
Photo of wood betony plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pedicularis canadensis
Description
Wood betony has a tight spiral of tubular, hooded yellow flowers atop a plant adorned with deeply incised, fernlike leaves that are about as attractive as the flowers themselves. In early spring, these leaves have a beautiful wine-red coloration.
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!