Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 46 results
Media
Illustration of American basswood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tilia americana
Description
American basswood is a common shade tree planted in lawns, parks, and along city streets. Recognize it by its leaf shape and texture, and by the unusual strap-shaped, reduced leaf attached to the clusters of small flowers.
Media
Illustration of American black currant leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ribes americanum
Description
American black currant is uncommon in Missouri, known from only one location in Schuyler County. The leaves have orange, resinous glands on the undersurface. A spineless shrub, it bears flowers, and later black berries, in clusters of 6–15.
Media
Illustration of American hazelnut leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corylus americana
Description
American hazelnut is a thicket-forming shrub that grows to about 10 feet high. It is prized for its edible nuts, which are covered by a distinctive leafy or papery, jagged-edged bract.
Media
Illustration of autumn olive leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elaeagnus umbellata
Description
Autumn olive can be found all over the state, since it was planted widely with the best of intentions. Despite its “pros,” this shrub has proven to be very invasive. It threatens native ecosystems and should not be planted.
Media
Illustration of black cherry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Prunus serotina
Description
Black cherry is prized for its high-quality wood. With its rich red color, it is easy to machine and holds its shape well. Eastern tent caterpillars like black cherry as well, spinning “tents” or bags on the branches for protection while they feed on the leaves.
Media
Illustration of black gum flowers and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nyssa sylvatica
Description
A close relative of water tupelo, black gum is growing in popularity as a landscaping tree. In the wild, it’s usually found in the Ozarks and Bootheel, but with people planting it in their yards, you might find it anywhere in the state.
Media
Illustration of black haw leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viburnum prunifolium
Description
Black haw is a small understory tree with beautiful fall color — deep lavender or maroon-purple, finally becoming deep rose-red. Its clusters of blue-black berries, borne on red stalks, happen to be quite tasty. No wonder it has been cultivated as an ornamental since 1727!
Media
Illustration of black hickory compound leaf and fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya texana
Description
Black hickory's nut, like that of the pignut hickory, is awfully hard to crack. Because rural Ozarkers noticed their hogs had no trouble extracting the sweet kernels, both species came to be called "pignut hickories."
Media
Illustration of black walnut compound leaf and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juglans nigra
Description
Easily Missouri’s most valuable tree, the black walnut provides the finest wood in the world, as well as delicious nuts. Both are in high demand and thus form an important part of Missouri’s economy.
Media
Illustration of bristly greenbrier leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Smilax hispida (syn. S. tamnoides var. hispida)
Description
Bristly greenbrier is a stout woody vine with bristlelike black spines, climbing high by tendrils to a length of 40 feet. It is the most common greenbrier in Missouri and is found statewide.
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.