Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 17 results
Media
Illustration of white fringe tree leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chionanthus virginicus
Description
White fringe tree is a shrub or small tree that is native to southwest and southeast Missouri. Its fragrant, showy clusters of white, drooping, fringe-like flowers make it a popular for landscaping.
Media
rough-leaved dogwood
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus spp.
Description
Missouri’s five species of dogwoods are shrubs or small trees with distinctive flowers, fruits, and bark. The fruits may be red, white, or blue. The leaves have characteristic arching veins.
Media
white ash leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus spp.
Description
Missouri has six species of ashes that you might find in natural settings. They have been very popular as shade trees, and their wood is famously useful. Ash trees of all the species in North America are currently being killed by the invasive, nonnative emerald ash borer.
Media
Illustration of swamp privet branch, leaves, flowers, and fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Forestiera acuminata
Description
Swamp privet is a straggly shrub or small tree growing in wet to swampy ground. It is quite noticeable in early spring, with the clusters of yellow flowers and bracts appearing along the gray branches before the leaves come out. In this way, it is similar in aspect to spicebush.
Media
Illustration of eastern red cedar stem, leaves, and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus virginiana
Description
By far the most common native conifer in the state, eastern red cedar is useful for its aromatic, red wood and beloved for its greenery, its resinous blue “berries,” and the spicy odor it lends the outdoors.
Media
Illustration of red maple leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acer rubrum
Description
Red maple is one of our most useful — and beautiful — native trees. You can find it in the woods as well as in landscape plantings statewide. Many horticultural varieties are available at nurseries.
Media
Illustration of gray dogwood branch, leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus foemina
Description
Gray dogwood is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub. Its small, creamy-white flowers occur in branched clusters, and its white or pale blue fruits are supported by red stalks — a characteristic that makes it attractive for ornamental uses.
Media
Illustration of rough-leaved dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus drummondii
Description
Rough-leaved dogwood is one of Missouri's hardiest shrubs, capable of withstanding cold and drought. The leaves of this thicket-forming species emit a faint odor of sour milk.
Media
Illustration of flowering dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus florida
Description
Flowering dogwood is a beautiful shrub to small tree with a straggling, spreading crown. Missouri’s official state tree, it presents lovely boughs of white inflorescences in springtime forests.
Media
Illustration of Ashe’s juniper needles, twig, fruits, with inset showing overall shape of plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus ashei
Description
In Missouri, Ashe’s juniper is uncommon and only found in a few southwestern counties; our populations represent the northeastern tip of its range. Here, it is much less widespread than its close relative eastern red cedar.
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.