Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results
Media
Illustration of bald cypress leaves and cones.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Taxodium distichum
Description
Bald cypress is an “evergreen” tree that is not evergreen! Like the leaves of hardwoods, its needles turn yellow in the fall and are shed. A tree associated with dark, mysterious swamps, its impressive form also graces many public landscapes.
Media
Illustration of common alder leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alnus serrulata
Description
Common alder is a good plant to know. The dried female catkins look like tiny pinecones.
Media
Illustration of cucumber magnolia leaves, flower, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Magnolia acuminata
Description
Cucumber magnolia is an impressive, large, broad-spreading shade tree native to southern Missouri. It is often cultivated in the eastern United States because, compared to more southern magnolias, it is relatively cold-hardy.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tsuga canadensis
Description
Eastern, or Canadian hemlock is usually encountered only in landscaping in Missouri. But based on one instance in Oregon County, we know it can reproduce and spread here on its own. So if you find it on a hike, it was almost certainly planted there at some point. Look around for a cistern, old home foundation, and other persisting garden plants nearby.
Media
Illustration of eastern red cedar stem, leaves, and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus virginiana
Description
By far the most common native conifer in the state, eastern red cedar is useful for its aromatic, red wood and beloved for its greenery, its resinous blue “berries,” and the spicy odor it lends the outdoors.
Media
Illustration of shortleaf pine needles, twig, cones.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pinus echinata
Description
Existing in thousands of acres of nearly pure stands, shortleaf pine was once the dominant tree in much of the Missouri Ozarks. Today, Missouri’s only native pine tree is recovering from the extensive logging that had exhausted its old-growth stands by the 1920s.
Media
Illustration of sweet gum leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liquidambar styraciflua
Description
The star-shaped leaves of sweet gum become even more striking in the autumn, when they turn various shades of gold, red, pink, and purple, often on the same tree — sometimes even on the same leaf!
Media
Illustration of tulip tree leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liriodendron tulipifera
Description
Though it only occurs naturally in the southeastern part of Missouri, the stately tulip tree is planted widely in lawns, parks, and cemeteries. The distinctive leaves and tulip-shaped flowers make it easy to identify.
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.