Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results
Media
Illustration of flowering dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus florida
Description
Flowering dogwood is a beautiful shrub to small tree with a straggling, spreading crown. Missouri’s official state tree, it presents lovely boughs of white inflorescences in springtime forests.
Media
Illustration of Ozark witch-hazel leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hamamelis vernalis
Description
Ozark witch-hazel is a large native shrub that grows along dry, rocky streambeds in southern and east-central Missouri. The yellow, ribbonlike flowers bloom as early as January. In the fall, the seeds are ejected forcefully, to a distance of up to 30 feet!
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
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 tulip tree leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liriodendron tulipifera
Description
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.
Media
Illustration of water tupelo, or tupelo gum, leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nyssa aquatica
Description
Water tupelo, or tupelo gum, is a large tree with a large, swollen, sometimes buttressed base, a tapering trunk, and a flattened, spreading crown. It and bald cypress are the dominant trees in Missouri’s Bootheel swamps.
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.