Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 61 results
Media
Illustration of giant cane stalks, leaves, flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arundinaria gigantea
Description
Giant cane is Missouri’s native species of bamboo. It is scattered mostly in our southernmost counties and the Bootheel. In its low, moist habitats, it sometimes forms canebrakes — dense, nearly pure thickets.
Media
Illustration of green ash leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Description
Green ash is one of the most widely planted shade trees around homes and along streets. In the wild, it lives along streams and in low grounds. Sadly, it is one of the trees most vulnerable to the emerald ash borer, an exotic invasive pest.
Media
Illustration of white ash leaf, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus americana
Description
White ash leaves turn shades of yellow and purple in fall, and that is one reason it has been a popular landscaping tree. Many birds and mammals feed on the paddle-shaped seeds.
Media
Illustration of swamp white oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus bicolor
Description
A beautiful tree, swamp white oak features bicolored leaves that are shiny, dark green above and downy white below. When a breeze sets them in motion, their wavy or lobed shapes add a calm grace to a summer's hike.
Media
Illustration of southern red oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus falcata
Description
This tree has two names as well as two leaf types! In Missouri, southern red oak, or Spanish oak, occurs natively only in our southeast and southernmost counties.
Media
Illustration of cherrybark oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus pagoda
Description
The bark of cherrybark oak looks like the bark of a cherry tree. When you hold one of the leaves with the leaf stalk upward, the pointed lobes make the leaf resemble an outline of a Chinese pagoda. This oak grows in Missouri's Bootheel.
Media
Illustration of shagbark hickory leaf and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya ovata
Description
Many Missouri trees are quite useful, and shagbark hickory is a great example. Its wood makes excellent, slow-burning charcoal, its nuts are edible, and its wood is used for many implements. Wildlife from moths to squirrels to bats appreciate shagbarks, too!
Media
Illustration of shellbark hickory leaf and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya laciniosa
Description
Shellbark hickory is the largest of the true hickories and has the best-tasting hickory nuts in Missouri. Compared to shagbark hickory, it has larger leaves and more leaflets, plus larger nuts and orange twigs.
Media
Illustration of bitternut hickory leaves and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya cordiformis
Description
Of the several hickories in Missouri, bitternut hickory is the only one with long, bright yellow buds. Its common name refers to the bitter taste of the nut — but the flavor doesn't put off squirrels, mice, and deer!
Media
Image of pecan leaves and nuts
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya illinoinensis
Description
The pecan, a type of hickory, is one of Missouri’s favorite nut trees. Originally pecan had a fairly limited, southern distribution, but today it is found in and out of cultivation nearly statewide, owing to the popularity of the nuts.
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.