Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 30 results
Media
Illustration of water oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus nigra
Description
Its range and interesting, variable leaf shapes identify water oak. Like many species that require wet lowland forests, water oak has been declining in our state due to long-term extensive disruption of natural habitats in our Bootheel counties.
Media
Illustration of swamp white oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus bicolor
Description
A beautiful tree, swamp white oak features bicolored leaves that are shiny, dark green above and downy white below. When a breeze sets them in motion, their wavy or lobed shapes add a calm grace to a summer's hike.
Media
Illustration of blackjack oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus marilandica
Description
Blackjack oak is common in dry upland woods, especially ones that have been badly burned. It can grow on the poorest soils. It is rugged but not worth much as lumber. It's one of the first trees to be used as fuel.
Media
Illustration of shagbark hickory leaf and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya ovata
Description
Many Missouri trees are quite useful, and shagbark hickory is a great example. Its wood makes excellent, slow-burning charcoal, its nuts are edible, and its wood is used for many implements. Wildlife from moths to squirrels to bats appreciate shagbarks, too!
Media
Illustration of black hickory compound leaf and fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya texana
Description
Black hickory's nut, like that of the pignut hickory, is awfully hard to crack. Because rural Ozarkers noticed their hogs had no trouble extracting the sweet kernels, both species came to be called "pignut hickories."
Media
Illustration of bitternut hickory leaves and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya cordiformis
Description
Of the several hickories in Missouri, bitternut hickory is the only one with long, bright yellow buds. Its common name refers to the bitter taste of the nut — but the flavor doesn't put off squirrels, mice, and deer!
Media
Image of pecan leaves and nuts
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya illinoinensis
Description
The pecan, a type of hickory, is one of Missouri’s favorite nut trees. Originally pecan had a fairly limited, southern distribution, but today it is found in and out of cultivation nearly statewide, owing to the popularity of the nuts.
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 mockernut hickory leaf, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya tomentosa
Description
Missouri is rich with hickory trees. Mockernut hickory stands out from the rest for its hard wood, thick-shelled fruit enclosing relatively small kernels, large and light-colored terminal buds, and tight, never shaggy, bark.
Media
Illustration of cottonwood leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Populus deltoides
Description
Named for the cottony fluffs of hairs attached to its tiny seeds, cottonwood thrives in moist lowlands near streams and rivers. It is Missouri’s fastest-growing native tree but pays for that distinction by being relatively short-lived.
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.