Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 19 results
Media
Illustration of black walnut compound leaf and nuts.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juglans nigra
Description
Easily Missouri’s most valuable tree, the black walnut provides the finest wood in the world, as well as delicious nuts. Both are in high demand and thus form an important part of Missouri’s economy.
Media
Illustration of smooth sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus glabra
Description
Colonies of smooth sumac are most noticeable in early autumn, because the leaves turn brilliant red! You can make drinks and jellies from the clusters of fuzzy red berries.
Media
Illustration of overcup oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus lyrata
Description
Overcup oak is fairly easy to identify. The acorns are almost completely covered by their knobby cups. The leaves have long, narrow lobes and wide sinuses. In Missouri, it grows naturally only in wet forests along the Mississippi and Meramec rivers.
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.
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 New Jersey tea leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ceanothus americanus
Description
A very small shrub of our native prairies and other open sites, New Jersey tea was used by patriotic American colonists as a substitute for black tea imported from England during the Revolutionary War.
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 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
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 downy serviceberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amelanchier arborea
Description
Downy serviceberry is a tall shrub or small tree found throughout Missouri in open or rocky woods. It is one of the earliest spring trees to bloom, producing showy white flowers. The springtime flowers, the purplish, often sweet berries, and the brilliant fall color make serviceberry an attractive landscaping tree.
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.