Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results
Media
Illustration of autumn olive leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elaeagnus umbellata
Description
Autumn olive can be found all over the state, since it was planted widely with the best of intentions. Despite its “pros,” this shrub has proven to be very invasive. It threatens native ecosystems and should not be planted.
Media
Illustration of black gum flowers and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nyssa sylvatica
Description
A close relative of water tupelo, black gum is growing in popularity as a landscaping tree. In the wild, it’s usually found in the Ozarks and Bootheel, but with people planting it in their yards, you might find it anywhere in the state.
Media
Illustration of golden currant leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ribes odoratum (syn. R. aureum)
Description
Golden currant is an erect to arching, spineless shrub up to 6 feet high. It is uncommon in the western part of the Ozarks. The flowers have a strong fragrance reminiscent of spicy cloves or sweet carnations.
Media
Illustration of overcup oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus lyrata
Description
Overcup oak is fairly easy to identify. The acorns are almost completely covered by their knobby cups. The leaves have long, narrow lobes and wide sinuses. In Missouri, it grows naturally only in wet forests along the Mississippi and Meramec rivers.
Media
Illustration of pawpaw leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asimina triloba
Description
“Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch” is an old song you might be familiar with — but today, surprisingly few Missourians know a pawpaw tree when they see one. This is a good tree to know, especially when the large, sweet fruit are ripening!
Media
Photo of smooth sumac.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus spp.
Description
Sumacs are shrubs or small trees that often form colonies from their creeping, branched roots. The foliage usually turns brilliant shades of red in early autumn. The clusters of berrylike fruits are red.
Media
Illustration of white mulberry leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morus alba
Description
White mulberry was introduced from Asia for its berries and as fodder for an attempted silkworm industry. Birds have helped spread white mulberry so much that in many places it is more common than our native red mulberry.
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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.