Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 20 results
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 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.
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 honey locust leaves, thorns, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gleditsia triacanthos
Description
Though it doesn’t reach a stately size, honey locust commands respect for its many large, strong, usually branched thorns, which can puncture tractor tires as easily as they can poke through tennis shoes! The long, leathery, twisting pods are relished by cattle and by wildlife.
Media
Illustration of eastern red cedar stem, leaves, and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus virginiana
Description
By far the most common native conifer in the state, eastern red cedar is useful for its aromatic, red wood and beloved for its greenery, its resinous blue “berries,” and the spicy odor it lends the outdoors.
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 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
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 wild plum leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Prunus americana
Description
A shrub or small tree with clusters of white flowers in the spring, and small, edible, red or yellow fruits in mid- to late summer, wild plum is a popular tree for landscaping.
Media
Illustration of multiflora rose, leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rosa multiflora
Description
Starting more than a century ago, this nonnative rose was planted across America — for many good reasons — but multiflora rose has proven to be invasive, and now the goal is to stop its spread.
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.