Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 16 results
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 butternut compound leaf and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juglans cinerea
Description
Butternut, or white walnut, is closely related to the more common black walnut. Both have delicious edible nuts, and both are valued for their wood. Butternut, however, is declining due to a usually fatal fungal disease.
Media
Callery Pear
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrus calleryana
Description
'Bradford', a type of Callery pear, has been hugely popular in landscaping, but it can escape and hybridize with relatives. Alarmingly, it has become an invasive plant. Learn more about this problem tree.
Media
Illustration of downy serviceberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amelanchier arborea
Description
Downy serviceberry is a tall shrub or small tree found throughout Missouri in open or rocky woods. The showy white flowers are among the first of the early spring trees and shrubs to bloom. The striking flowers, the purplish, often sweet berries, and the brilliant fall color make serviceberry an attractive landscaping tree.
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. Historically 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
european black alder
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alnus glutinosa
Description
Native to Europe and Asia, European, or black alder is planted widely as an ornamental. In some parts of the United States and elsewhere in the world, this species becomes weedy, even invasive. In Missouri, you are most likely to encounter it in landscaped areas, and not in the wild.
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 Kentucky coffee tree leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gymnocladus dioicus
Description
There’s no mistaking Kentucky coffee tree when its large, tough seedpods are hanging from its limbs or dropping to the ground below. Unpopular as food with today’s wildlife, these seedpods might have fed mastodons and other large, extinct North American mammals.
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
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.
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.