Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 26 results
Media
Illustration of poison ivy leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Toxicodendron radicans
Description
Poison ivy is a toxic plant that contains an oil in all its parts that, if you come into contact with it, can cause an intense skin reaction. Learn to recognize it, and sidestep it on your outings.
Media
Illustration of woodbine leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenocissus vitacea (syn. P. inserta)
Description
Woodbine is a climbing woody vine that usually sprawls over bushes and rocks. Its leaves have five coarsely toothed leaflets. Unlike the closely related Virginia creeper, its tendrils generally lack sucker disks. It is rarely found in Missouri.
Media
Illustration of marine vine leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cissus trifoliata (syn. C. incisa)
Description
Marine vine is a climbing or trailing woody vine to 30 feet high, climbing by tendrils. Uncommon in Missouri, it is found only in our far southwestern counties.
Media
Illustration of fragrant sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus aromatica
Description
Unlike its cousin poison ivy, fragrant sumac is a peasant, nontoxic plant. Note the middle leaflet of its "leaves of three": On fragrant sumac, there is no (or at most a very short) leaf stalk on that middle leaflet. Also, fragrant sumac has hairy, reddish fruits (not waxy whitish ones).
Media
Illustration of virginia creeper leaves, stem, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Description
Occasionally confused with poison ivy, Virginia creeper is easily identified by simply noticing that most of its leaflets are in fives, instead of threes. This common native vine is useful in landscaping.
Media
Illustration of American bittersweet leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Celastrus scandens
Description
American bittersweet is a native woody vine that climbs into trees or sprawls on bushes or fences. Its clusters of orange fruits split into sections to reveal seeds covered with a bright red, fleshy coating.
Media
Illustration of dewberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rubus flagellaris
Description
Dewberry is a lot like common blackberry, except that instead of being a small shrub, its canes form trailing woody vines. Both plants are prickly, and both produce delicious deep purple berries!
Media
Illustration of prairie rose leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rosa setigera
Description
Also called climbing rose, prairie rose is most common near woodlands, where it climbs and trails on neighboring shrubs and small trees.
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 round-leaved catbrier leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Smilax rotundifolia
Description
Round-leaved catbrier is a climbing, perennial woody vine to 20 feet long with tendrils and stout spines, sometimes forming tangled thickets. In Missouri, it is found mainly in the Bootheel and nearby southeastern Ozarks.
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.