Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

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Illustration of possum haw leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ilex decidua
Possum haw, or deciduous holly, is the more common of two native Missouri hollies that lose their leaves each fall. This shrub or small tree is eye-catching in the fall and winter with its bright red berries.
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.