Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 11 results
Media
Illustration of bristly greenbrier leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Smilax hispida (syn. S. tamnoides var. hispida)
Description
Bristly greenbrier is a stout woody vine with bristlelike black spines, climbing high by tendrils to a length of 40 feet. It is the most common greenbrier in Missouri and is found statewide.
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 catbrier leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Smilax bona-nox
Description
Catbrier is a green-stalked perennial vine with stout spines. It climbs up to 25 feet using tendrils that arise in pairs from the bases of the triangular, heart, or fiddle-shaped leaves.
Media
Illustration of common buckthorn leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhamnus cathartica
Description
You might see common buckthorn for sale at a nursery, but don’t buy it! At least six states have banned this invasive exotic, and the difficult-to-control plant is causing problems here in Missouri, too. Learn how to identify it — and avoid it!
Media
Illustration of greenbrier leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Smilax glauca
Description
Greenbrier is a slender, spiny, woody vine climbing by coiled tendrils. Its leaves can be broadly heart-shaped, oval, or lance-shaped. The leaf undersurface is smooth and notably whitened, silvery, or blue-gray with a waxy coating.
Media
Photo of hawthorn trees blooming on lawn of Missouri state capitol
Species Types
Scientific Name
Various species in the genus Crataegus
Description
Our state flower, the hawthorn, is solidly represented in Missouri. There are about 100 different kinds of hawthorns that occupy almost every kind of soil in every part of the state. These members of the rose family are closely related to apples.
Media
Illustration of Missouri gooseberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ribes missouriense
Description
Missouri gooseberry is our state’s most widespread and common gooseberry. People brave its prickly stems to collect its tart, tasty fruits to make pies, jams, and jellies.
Media
Illustration of Osage orange flowers and fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Maclura pomifera
Description
Osage orange is a densely branched, short-trunked, thorny tree. It bears weird-loooking, softball-sized, chartreuse, brainlike fruits, which often lie beneath the tree in abundance in autumn.
Media
Illustration of prairie crab apple leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Malus ioensis
Description
Prairie crab apple is an attractive, small, ornamental tree with low, crooked branches and attractive spring flowers. Its hard, bitter fruits can be used in making tasty jellies, cider, and vinegar.
Media
Illustration of Russian olive leaves, flowers, fruits, twigs, thorns.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Description
Russian olive is a small tree with distinctive silvery leaves. It was introduced to America in the late 1800s and widely planted as an ornamental and windbreak. But in many states it has proven to be invasive. It is not recommended here in Missouri.
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.