Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 23 results
Media
Illustration of ninebark leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physocarpus opulifolius
Description
An attractive shrub with wide-spreading, graceful, recurved branches and bark peeling off in conspicuous thin strips, ninebark is found throughout southern and eastern Missouri on gravel bars, rocky stream banks, and bluffs along streams. It's very popular as a native landscaping shrub, too.
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
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
Illustration of sycamore leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Platanus occidentalis
Description
The white, smooth-looking limbs of sycamore rise over countless streams and river banks, as well as over sidewalks and city streets. The leaves, which somewhat resemble those of maples, can reach remarkably large sizes.
Media
Illustration of black gum flowers and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nyssa sylvatica
Description
A close relative of water tupelo, black gum is very popular as a landscaping tree. In the wild, it’s usually found in the Ozarks and Bootheel, but with its high popularity in landscaping, you might find it anywhere in the state.
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 buttonbush leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cephalanthus occidentalis
Description
White flowers clustered in round balls give buttonbush its name. It's always found near water, and thickets of buttonbush help protect lakeshores from wave action. This shrub is also planted as an ornamental.
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 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.
Media
Illustration of alternate-leaved dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus alternifolia
Description
Dogwoods usually have leaves arranged opposite one another on the stem, except for the alternate-leaved dogwood! This shrub or small tree is a popular ornamental, especially in the northern parts of Missouri, where it can be too cold to grow flowering dogwood.
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.