Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 11 results
Media
Illustration of Ashe’s juniper needles, twig, fruits, with inset showing overall shape of plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus ashei
Description
In Missouri, Ashe’s juniper is uncommon and only found in a few southwestern counties; our populations represent the northeastern tip of its range. Here, it is much less widespread than its close relative eastern red cedar.
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 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
sugar maple
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acer spp.
Description
Missouri has five species of maples that are either native or naturalized, plus several that are known only in cultivation. Maples are important members of native ecosystems. They also provide stunning fall color, welcome shade in summer, commercially important lumber, and sap for syrup.
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 pondberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lindera melissifolia
Description
Pondberry is a colony-forming shrub that grows in swampy depressions in lowland forests. It is an Endangered species. In Missouri, only one population occurs, in southern Ripley County.
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.
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.
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.