Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 16 results
Media
Illustration of American hazelnut leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corylus americana
Description
American hazelnut is a thicket-forming shrub that grows to about 10 feet high. It is prized for its edible nuts, which are covered by a distinctive leafy or papery, jagged-edged bract.
Media
Illustration of black willow leaves and catkins.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Salix nigra
Description
In some parts of our nation, black willow is only a shrub, but in Missouri it grows quite large. The largest and most widely known of our native willows, black willow is the only member of its family that reaches commercial size.
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 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.
Media
Shagbark Hickory
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya spp.
Description
Hickories are an important part of Missouri’s oak-hickory woodlands and forests. They have tremendous economic value, too. Learn about the nine species of hickory found in Missouri.
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. Look for it in landscaped areas, too!
Media
A closeup of an acorn
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus spp.
Description
Oaks are the most important group of trees in Missouri, in both human and ecosystem value. They dominate most of the forests, woodlands, and savannas in the state. Learn more about our 22 species.
Media
Illustration of overcup oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus lyrata
Description
Overcup oak is fairly easy to identify. The acorns are almost completely covered by their knobby cups. The leaves have long, narrow lobes and wide sinuses. In Missouri, it grows naturally only in wet forests along the Mississippi and Meramec rivers.
Media
Illustration of pin oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus palustris
Description
Pin oak is one of the easiest trees to recognize by its shape alone: It has a tall, straight trunk, an overall pyramidal or conical shape and, most notably, the branches on the lower third of the tree angle downward.
Media
Illustratin of river birch leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Betula nigra
Description
River birch is a native tree easily identified by its reddish, papery, peeling bark. It is used extensively in landscaping, where many-stemmed groupings are planted in moist places in yards and along streams and ponds.
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.