Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 145 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 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 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 Carolina larkspur plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium carolinianum
Description
Small blue, lavender, or white flowers shaped like cornucopias dance along the tall stems of this Carolina larkspur, which grows in prairies and grasslands.
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.
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!