Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 15 results
Media
Illustration of buckbrush leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Description
Buckbrush, or coralberry, grows throughout Missouri. This familiar thicket-forming shrub bears dense clusters of pinkish-red berries that persist through most of the winter.
Media
Illustration of winged euonymus, or burning bush, Euonymus alatus
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euonymus alatus
Description
Burning bush, or winged euonymus, is a nonnative shrub that has been very popular in landscaping for its bright red fall foliage. But it is invasive and spreads aggressively into natural habitats, displacing native species.
Media
Illustration of bush honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lonicera maackii (Amur) and Lonicera x bella (bella)
Description
If there’s a giant green thicket in your woods, you may have a bush honeysuckle infestation. These invasive plants are shrubby natives of Asia. In America, where they have no natural controls, they leaf out early, grow fast, spread fast, and form dense thickets that crowd out native forest plants.
Media
Illustration of common elderberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sambucus canadensis
Description
Common elderberry is a colony-forming shrub with opposite compound leaves. Its large, flattened clusters of small white flowers produce purple or black berrylike fruits.
Media
rough-leaved dogwood
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus spp.
Description
Missouri’s five species of dogwoods are shrubs or small trees with distinctive flowers, fruits, and bark. The fruits may be red, white, or blue. The leaves have characteristic arching veins.
Media
Illustration of gray dogwood branch, leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus foemina
Description
Gray dogwood is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub. Its small, creamy-white flowers occur in branched clusters, and its white or pale blue fruits are supported by red stalks — a characteristic that makes it attractive for ornamental uses.
Media
Illustration of nannyberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viburnum lentago
Description
Nannyberry is an understory shrub or small tree that grows in low woods, wooded slopes, and rich valleys near streams. It is officially a Species of Conservation Concern in our state, but its rarity here may be because Missouri is at the southern end of its range.
Media
Illustration of northern catalpa leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Catalpa speciosa
Description
Of the three species of catalpas in our state, northern catalpa is the only one native to Missouri (specifically, the Bootheel region). It has been planted widely, though, and has naturalized in many places. A popular ornamental and shade tree with pretty, orchidlike flowers and long, beanlike fruit.
Media
Illustration of border privet branch, leaves, flowers, and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ligustrum spp.
Description
Four species of privets occur in Missouri, all are nonnative, and all are considered invasive or potentially invasive. When they invade natural habitats, they can form dense thickets that crowd out native vegetation.
Media
Illustration of rough-leaved dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus drummondii
Description
Rough-leaved dogwood is one of Missouri's hardiest shrubs, capable of withstanding cold and drought. The leaves of this thicket-forming species emit a faint odor of sour milk.
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.