Content tagged with "Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines"

Image of a sycamore leaf


Platanus occidentalis
The white, smooth-looking limbs of this giant tree rise over countless streams and river banks—as well as over sidewalks and city streets. The leaves, which somewhat resemble those of maples, can reach remarkably large sizes.

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Thunberg’s Lespedeza (Shrub Lespedeza; Pink Bush Clover)

Lespedeza thunbergii
Thunberg’s lespedeza is a large, non-woody perennial shrub often cultivated as a showy, flowering ornamental. It sometimes escapes from cultivation and naturalizes in Missouri landscapes.

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tree of heaven


Ailanthus altissima
Tree-of-Heaven is a fast-growing exotic that has become common in urban areas. It is weedy and aggressive and should not be planted. Recognize it by its 2-foot-long feather-compound leaves and the unpleasant scent of the twigs when you break them.

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Photo of trumpet creeper showing cluster of flowers

Trumpet Creeper (Trumpet Vine)

Campsis radicans
Each summer, the bright orange and red “trumpets” of this woody vine decorate Missouri’s cliff faces, telephone poles, and anything else strong enough to support it. Hummingbirds zoom to trumpet creeper’s flowers for their nectar.

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Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar, Tulip Poplar)

Liriodendron tulipifera
Though it only occurs naturally in the southeastern part of Missouri, the stately tulip tree is planted widely in lawns, parks and cemeteries. The distinctive leaves and tulip-shaped flowers make it easy to identify.

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Image of Virginia creeper leaves

Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Occasionally confused with poison ivy, Virginia creeper can be easily identified by simply noticing that most of its leaflets are in fives, instead of threes. This delightful native vine is useful in landscaping.

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Ward’s Willow (Carolina Willow; Coastal Plain Willow; Ward Willow)

Salix caroliniana
This willow is one of the first woody species to occupy the outer edges of gravel bars in a stream. This "pioneer plant" honors an intellectual pioneer, Lester Frank Ward, who was a Civil War veteran, botanist, geologist and sociologist; he was the first president of the American Sociological Association.

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water hickory

Water Hickory (Bitter Pecan)

Carya aquatica
Water hickory grows on ground that is often under water during part of the year. The bitter nuts are consumed by ducks and other wildlife.

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water oak

Water Oak

Quercus nigra
Its range, and the interesting (and variable) shapes of the leaves easily identify water oak. This species, like many plants and animals that require wet lowland forests, has been declining in our state due to extensive clearing, rowcropping, ditching and draining in in our Bootheel counties.

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Image of a white ash tree

White Ash

Fraxinus americana
“Leaf-peepers” admire the yellows and purples this tree lends Missouri’s autumn canopy, and many birds and mammals feed on the distinctive, paddle-shaped seeds. The word “white” in the name probably refers to the pale undersides of the leaves.

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