Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 16 results
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 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
Illustration of Carolina moonseed leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cocculus carolinus
Description
Carolina moonseed is a slender, twining vine. It is scattered in southern and eastern Missouri. It bears clusters of bright red, somewhat flattened fruits. The disk-shaped seeds are spiraled like a snail shell.
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 moonseed leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Menispermum canadense
Description
Common moonseed is a rather slender, twining vine that climbs or sprawls. It occurs nearly statewide. It bears clusters of bluish-black fruits. The seeds are flattened, with a raised edge shaped like a crescent moon.
Media
Illustration of cupseed leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Calycocarpum lyonii
Description
Cupseed is a relatively stout, robust twining vine that dies back to the ground in severe winters. It is scattered south of the Missouri River. It bears clusters of black fruits. The seeds are shaped like little cups.
Media
Illustration of grape honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lonicera reticulata (formerly L. prolifera)
Description
One of Missouri's beautiful native honeysuckles, grape honeysuckle is found mainly in the northern two-thirds of the state. In the native plant garden, it is easy to grow, but it is not aggressive like the introduced invasive Japanese honeysuckle.
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
Illustration of Japanese honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lonicera japonica
Description
Don’t kid yourself about this invasive, exotic vine: Japanese honeysuckle is an aggressive colonizer that shades out native plants and harms natural communities. Learn how to recognize it!
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.
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.