Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines
Salix spp. (about 12 species in Missouri)
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.
Salix interior (formerly S. exigua)
Identify sandbar willow by its very narrow leaves with widely spaced, slender teeth along the margins. This is a good soil binder and bank stabilizer; it prevents washing and erosion of alluvial soil.
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.