Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 16 results
Media
european black alder
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alnus glutinosa
Description
Native to Europe and Asia, European, or black alder is planted widely as an ornamental. In some parts of the United States and elsewhere in the world, this species becomes weedy, even invasive. In Missouri, you are most likely to encounter it in landscaped areas, and not in the wild.
Media
Shagbark Hickory
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carya spp.
Description
Hickories are an important part of Missouri’s oak-hickory woodlands and forests. They have tremendous economic value, too. Learn about the nine species of hickory found in Missouri.
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 butternut compound leaf and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juglans cinerea
Description
Butternut, or white walnut, is closely related to the more common black walnut. Both have delicious edible nuts, and both are valued for their wood. Butternut, however, is declining due to a usually fatal fungal disease.
Media
Illustration of Kentucky coffee tree leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gymnocladus dioicus
Description
There’s no mistaking Kentucky coffee tree when its large, tough seedpods are hanging from its limbs or dropping to the ground below. Unpopular as food with today’s wildlife, these seedpods might have fed mastodons and other large, extinct North American mammals.
Media
white ash leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus spp.
Description
Missouri has six species of ashes that you might find in natural settings. They have been very popular as shade trees, and their wood is famously useful. Ash trees of all the species in North America are currently being killed by the invasive, nonnative emerald ash borer.
Media
Photo of slippery elm leaves and twigs.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ulmus spp.
Description
Missouri has seven species of elms that grow in natural settings. Elms have tough, shock-resistant wood. In the past, some species were favorite shade trees, which is why so many towns have Elm Streets. But elms have suffered for a century from a devastating fungal disease.
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
jack pine
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pinus banksiana
Description
Native to the northeastern United States and Canada, jack pine has been introduced in many other places, including Missouri. This scrubby tree is planted as an ornamental, for windbreaks, or for erosion control. It reproduces locally in and around places where it has been planted.
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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.