Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
Media
Illustration of American holly leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ilex opaca
Description
American holly is Missouri's most durable broad-leafed evergreen tree. It is best known for its bright red berries and spiny green leaves at Christmas.
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 locust leaves and flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Robinia pseudoacacia
Description
Black locust, a member of the bean family, is easy to appreciate in May and June, when its showy white clusters of flowers perfume the breeze with their sweet smell. Bees like the flowers, too.
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 blackberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rubus allegheniensis
Description
Common blackberry is only one of several species of blackberry in our state. It grows in rocky, open woods, along bluffs and fencerows, on glades, and in thickets, old fields, and open valleys nearly statewide.
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 common prickly ash leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zanthoxylum americanum
Description
Common prickly ash is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree. Its compound leaves resemble of those of ash trees, but it’s in a different family. Pairs of stout, curved prickles occur at each node. Scattered statewide, but less common in the Ozarks.
Media
Illustration of dewberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rubus flagellaris
Description
Dewberry is a lot like common blackberry, except that instead of being a small shrub, its canes form trailing woody vines. Both plants are prickly, and both produce delicious deep purple 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.