Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 31 results
Media
Illustration of fragrant sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus aromatica
Description
Unlike its cousin poison ivy, fragrant sumac is a peasant, nontoxic plant. Note the middle leaflet of its "leaves of three": On fragrant sumac, there is no (or at most a very short) leaf stalk on that middle leaflet. Also, fragrant sumac has hairy, reddish fruits (not waxy whitish ones).
Media
sugar maple
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acer spp.
Description
Missouri has five species of maples that are either native or naturalized, plus several that are known only in cultivation. Maples are important members of native ecosystems. They also provide stunning fall color, welcome shade in summer, commercially important lumber, and sap for syrup.
Media
Illustration of sycamore leaves and fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Platanus occidentalis
Description
The white, smooth-looking limbs of sycamore rise over countless streams and river banks, as well as over sidewalks and city streets. The leaves, which somewhat resemble those of maples, can reach remarkably large sizes.
Media
Illustration of Ozark witch-hazel leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hamamelis vernalis
Description
Ozark witch-hazel is a large native shrub that grows along dry, rocky streambeds in southern and east-central Missouri. The yellow, ribbonlike flowers bloom as early as January. In the fall, the seeds are ejected forcefully, to a distance of up to 30 feet!
Media
A closeup of an acorn
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus spp.
Description
Oaks are the most important group of trees in Missouri, in both human and ecosystem value. They dominate most of the forests, woodlands, and savannas in the state. Learn more about our 22 species.
Media
Illustration of red maple leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acer rubrum
Description
Red maple is one of our most useful — and beautiful — native trees. You can find it in the woods as well as in landscape plantings statewide. Many horticultural varieties are available at nurseries.
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.
Media
Illustration of red mulberry leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morus rubra
Description
Red mulberry is native to Missouri and North America. You can distinguish it from the introduced white mulberry tree, which is a noxious weed, by its leaves and fruits.
Media
Illustration of ninebark leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physocarpus opulifolius
Description
An attractive shrub with wide-spreading, graceful, recurved branches and bark peeling off in conspicuous thin strips, ninebark is found throughout southern and eastern Missouri on gravel bars, rocky stream banks, and bluffs along streams. It's very popular as a native landscaping shrub, too.
Media
Illustration of tulip tree leaves, flowers, fruit
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liriodendron tulipifera
Description
Though it only occurs naturally in the southeastern part of Missouri, the stately tulip tree is planted widely in lawns, parks, and cemeteries. The distinctive leaves and tulip-shaped flowers make it easy to identify.
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.