Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 results
Media
Illustration of persimmon leaves, branch, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Diospyros virginiana
Description
Persimmon is best known in the fall, when its orange, plumlike fruits come on. Be careful, however, to make sure a persimmon is ripe before you pop it into your mouth, or you could have a puckery surprise!
Media
Illustration of Russian olive leaves, flowers, fruits, twigs, thorns.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Description
Russian olive is a small tree with distinctive silvery leaves. It was introduced to America in the late 1800s and widely planted as an ornamental and windbreak. But in many states it has proven to be invasive. It is not recommended here in Missouri.
Media
Illustration of hackberry leaves, stem, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Celtis occidentalis
Description
Common hackberry is named for its sweet, purple, edible fruits, but most people identify hackberry with its weird-looking bark, which develops numerous corky, wartlike projections and ridges.
Media
Illustration of pawpaw leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asimina triloba
Description
“Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch” is an old song you might be familiar with — but today, surprisingly few Missourians know a pawpaw tree when they see one. This is a good tree to know, especially when the large, sweet fruit are ripening!
Media
Carolina buckthorn, illustration of branch with leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhamnus caroliniana (syn. Frangula caroliniana)
Description
Carolina buckthorn occurs in the southeastern half of Missouri. It’s a shrub with several main stems, or a small tree potentially reaching 40 feet high, with a trunk diameter of up to 8 inches. Despite the name, there are no thorns.
Media
Illustration of possum haw leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ilex decidua
Description
Possum haw, or deciduous holly, is the more common of two native Missouri hollies that lose their leaves each fall. This shrub or small tree is eye-catching in the fall and winter with its bright red berries.
See Also

About Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in Missouri

There are no sharp dividing lines between trees, shrubs, and woody vines, or even between woody and nonwoody plants. “Wood” is a type of tissue made of cellulose and lignin that many plants develop as they mature — whether they are “woody” or not. Trees are woody plants over 13 feet tall with a single trunk. Shrubs are less than 13 feet tall, with multiple stems. Vines require support or else sprawl over the ground.