Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 9 of 9 results
Media
Illustration of American elm leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ulmus americana
Description
Until Dutch elm disease came to America, the large, graceful American elm was widely planted along city streets and was beloved as the all-American shade tree. Now large specimens are rare, since the deadly fungus usually kills trees before they reach fine old ages.
Media
Illustration of American hornbeam leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carpinus caroliniana
Description
American hornbeam is also called musclewood because of the sinewy appearance of its smooth gray bark. The name hornbeam refers to the genuine strength of its wood — it is one of the hardest and strongest woods in North America.
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.
Media
Photo of slippery elm leaves and twigs.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ulmus spp.
Description
Missouri has seven species of elms that grow in natural settings. Elms have tough, shock-resistant wood. In the past, some species were favorite shade trees, which is why so many towns have Elm Streets. But elms have suffered for a century from a devastating fungal disease.
Media
Illustration of ladies' eardrops leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brunnichia ovata (formerly B. cirrhosa)
Description
Ladies’ eardrops is a perennial, tendril-climbing woody vine to 40 feet, with green to reddish-brown stems, and curious pink, pendant fruits. In Missouri, it is found in the Bootheel.
Media
Illustration of slippery elm twig and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ulmus rubra
Description
Found nearly statewide, slippery elm has fuzzy twigs and reddish hairy buds, which often attract attention in wintertime. Its inner bark is reddish and rather slimy, which gives this tree its name "slippery."
Media
Illustration of tree-of-heaven leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ailanthus altissima
Description
Tree-of-heaven is a fast-growing exotic that is common in urban areas. It is weedy and aggressive and should not be planted. It has 2-foot-long feather-compound leaves. Twigs smell unpleasant when you break them.
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.
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.
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.