Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 165 results
Media
Photo of eastern gama grass flowering plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tripsacum dactyloides
Description
Eastern gama grass is a native perennial bunch grass with flowering stalks up to 8 feet tall. The fingerlike seed heads have separate male and female florets. The seed-bearing, female florets are in the lower portion of each spike. It occurs statewide and is an important component of native prairies and glades.
Media
Photo of an ebony spleenwort plant growing among moss and fallen leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asplenium platyneuron
Description
Ebony spleenwort is a common forest-floor fern with wiry, shiny, dark brown leaf stalks and a ladderlike series of dark green, narrowly oblong leaflets.
Media
Photo of an Engelmann’s adder’s tongue with a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ophioglossum spp.
Description
Four species of adder’s tongue ferns occur in Missouri. They don’t look like typical ferns. They have spoon-shaped leaves and an upright spore-bearing stalk.
Media
Western ironweed flowerhead in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vernonia baldwinii
Description
Ironweeds are tough, grayish-green, branching plants known for their fluffy-looking clusters of reddish-purple florets. They are a familiar sight on roadsides and pastures. Identify western ironweed by the bracts at the base of the flowerheads.
Media
Photo of fire pink flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Silene virginica
Description
Fire pink is a low, clump-forming perennial with many slender, spreading stems that are sticky from glandular hairs, with open clusters of bright red flowers. This showy native Missouri plant is growing in popularity among home gardeners.
Media
Photo of glade coneflower flowerhead showing yellow pollen
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea simulata
Description
One of Missouri’s five types of echinaceas, glade coneflower is distinguished by its yellow pollen, drooping pink or purple ray flowers, and narrow, tapering leaves. Look for it in the eastern Ozarks, and at native plant nurseries!
Media
Photo of hedge parsley flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Torilis arvensis
Description
Hedge parsley is an introduced plant that looks a lot like parsley. It was first collected in Missouri in 1909 and has become much more abundant in recent decades as it spreads along roadsides and railroads.
Media
Photo of Korean lespedeza plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Kummerowia stipulacea (formerly Lespedeza stipulacea)
Description
Korean lespedeza is an Asian clover that was introduced to North America to prevent erosion, to feed wildlife and livestock, and, since it is a legume, to add nitrogen to the soil. A weedy plant, it has spread statewide since the 1930s.
Media
Photo of long-leaved bluets plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Houstonia longifolia (sometimes Hedyotis longifolia)
Description
The petals of long-leaved bluets are not blue; they are white, often tinged with pink. Look for it in rocky, open Ozark woods, prairies, glades, and old fields in the southeastern half of the state. It prefers acid soils.
Media
Photo of mullein basal leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbascum thapsus
Description
Mullein immigrated to America along with Europeans, and with them it has spread across the continent. Its fuzzy, green-gray rosettes of leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers make it easy to identify.
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!