Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 22 results
Media
Illustration of honey locust leaves, thorns, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gleditsia triacanthos
Description
Though it doesn’t reach a stately size, honey locust commands respect for its many large, strong, usually branched thorns, which can puncture tractor tires as easily as they can poke through tennis shoes! The long, leathery, twisting pods are relished by cattle and by wildlife.
Media
Illustration of smooth sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus glabra
Description
Colonies of smooth sumac are most noticeable in early autumn, because the leaves turn brilliant red! You can make drinks and jellies from the clusters of fuzzy red berries.
Media
Illustration of poison ivy leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Toxicodendron radicans
Description
Poison ivy is a toxic plant that contains an oil in all its parts that, if you come into contact with it, can cause an intense skin reaction. Learn to recognize it, and sidestep it on your outings.
Media
Illustration of New Jersey tea leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ceanothus americanus
Description
A very small shrub of our native prairies and other open sites, New Jersey tea was used by patriotic American colonists as a substitute for black tea imported from England during the Revolutionary War.
Media
Photo of hawthorn trees blooming on lawn of Missouri state capitol
Species Types
Scientific Name
Various species in the genus Crataegus
Description
Our state flower, the hawthorn, is solidly represented in Missouri. There are about 100 different kinds of hawthorns that occupy almost every kind of soil in every part of the state. These members of the rose family are closely related to apples.
Media
willow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Salix spp. (about 12 species in Missouri)
Description
Exotic willows are available at lawn and garden centers, but there are several willow species that are native to Missouri. Most are rather humble colonizers of gravel bars, riverbanks, and lakesides. Many are important for human economic interests. All have a place in our wild ecosystems.
Media
Illustration of virginia creeper leaves, stem, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Description
Occasionally confused with poison ivy, Virginia creeper is easily identified by simply noticing that most of its leaflets are in fives, instead of threes. This common native vine is useful in landscaping.
Media
Illustration of common buckthorn leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhamnus cathartica
Description
You might see common buckthorn for sale at a nursery, but don’t buy it! At least six states have banned this invasive exotic, and the difficult-to-control plant is causing problems here in Missouri, too. Learn how to identify it — and avoid it!
Media
Illustration of winged sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus copallinum
Description
Winged sumac is most common south of the Missouri River. The "wings" in the name refer to the narrow, flattened leafy structures running along the central stems of the compound leaves.
Media
Photo of smooth sumac.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus spp.
Description
Sumacs are shrubs or small trees that often form colonies from their creeping, branched roots. The foliage usually turns brilliant shades of red in early autumn. The clusters of berrylike fruits are red.
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.