Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 57 results
Media
Illustration of green ash leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Description
Green ash is one of the most widely planted shade trees around homes and along streets. In the wild, it lives along streams and in low grounds. Sadly, it is one of the trees most vulnerable to the emerald ash borer, an exotic invasive pest.
Media
Illustration of white ash leaf, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fraxinus americana
Description
White ash leaves turn shades of yellow and purple in fall, and that is one reason it has been a popular landscaping tree. Many birds and mammals feed on the paddle-shaped seeds.
Media
Illustration of bald cypress leaves and cones.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Taxodium distichum
Description
Bald cypress is an “evergreen” tree that is not evergreen! Like the leaves of hardwoods, its needles turn yellow in the fall and are shed. A tree associated with dark, mysterious swamps, its impressive form also graces many public landscapes.
Media
Illustration of water oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus nigra
Description
Its range and interesting, variable leaf shapes identify water oak. Like many species that require wet lowland forests, water oak has been declining in our state due to long-term extensive disruption of natural habitats in our Bootheel counties.
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
Illustration of swamp white oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus bicolor
Description
A beautiful tree, swamp white oak features bicolored leaves that are shiny, dark green above and downy white below. When a breeze sets them in motion, their wavy or lobed shapes add a calm grace to a summer's hike.
Media
Illustration of southern red oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus falcata
Description
This tree has two names as well as two leaf types! In Missouri, southern red oak, or Spanish oak, occurs natively only in our southeast and southernmost counties.
Media
Illustration of white oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus alba
Description
Found throughout Missouri and in all kinds of habitats, the white oak is one of our most attractive, long-lived, and stately shade trees. Learn to recognize it by its light gray bark, rounded-lobed leaves, and distinctive acorns.
Media
Illustration of sassafras leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sassafras albidum
Description
Sassafras, with its aromatic oval, mitten- , and trident-shaped leaves, is rich in both human and natural history, and it can be a spectacular tree for fall color.
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!
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.