Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 11 results
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
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 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
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 pecan leaf and fruit.
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 persimmon leaves, branch, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Diospyros virginiana
Description
Persimmon is best known in the fall, when its orange, plumlike fruits come on. Be careful, however, to make sure a persimmon is ripe before you pop it into your mouth, or you could have a puckery surprise!
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
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
Illustration of willow oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus phellos
Description
Willow oak's leaves are narrow, pointed, and willowlike, and like willows, this oak is associated with wet ground. In Missouri, willow oak is only found natively in our southeastern counties.
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.