Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 15 results
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tsuga canadensis
Description
Eastern, or Canadian hemlock is usually encountered only in landscaping in Missouri. But based on one instance in Oregon County, we know it can reproduce and spread here on its own. So if you find it on a hike, it was almost certainly planted there at some point. Look around for a cistern, old home foundation, and other persisting garden plants nearby.
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
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 American holly leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ilex opaca
Description
American holly is Missouri's most durable broad-leafed evergreen tree. It is best known for its bright red berries and spiny green leaves at Christmas.
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 black gum flowers and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nyssa sylvatica
Description
A close relative of water tupelo, black gum is very popular as a landscaping tree. In the wild, it’s usually found in the Ozarks and Bootheel, but with its high popularity in landscaping, you might find it anywhere in the state.
Media
Illustration of sweet gum leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liquidambar styraciflua
Description
The star-shaped leaves of sweet gum become even more striking in the autumn, when they turn various shades of gold, red, pink, and purple, often on the same tree — sometimes even on the same leaf!
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.
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.
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.