Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 9 of 9 results
Media
Illustration of eastern leatherwood leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dirca palustris
Description
Eastern leatherwood is a native shrub of bottomlands, stream banks, and bases of bluffs. It has unusual little dangling yellow flowers, and its twigs are surprisingly flexible.
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 lowbush blueberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vaccinium pallidum (syn. V. vacillans)
Description
Lowbush blueberry is a stiffly branching shrub to 3 feet high. The berries are tasty raw or cooked in pies, muffins, and preserves. It is mostly found south of the Missouri River. It often grows in extensive colonies.
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 Missouri gooseberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ribes missouriense
Description
Missouri gooseberry is our state’s most widespread and common gooseberry. People brave its prickly stems to collect its tart, tasty fruits to make pies, jams, and jellies.
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 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 prickly gooseberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ribes cynosbati
Description
Prickly gooseberry occurs mostly in the eastern half of Missouri. Its spine-covered berries turn reddish purple when ripe. Despite the prickles, they are edible.
Media
Illustration of trumpet creeper leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Campsis radicans
Description
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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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.