Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 30 results
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 bur oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus macrocarpa
Description
Bur oaks can live for hundreds of years and become giants; many have legendary or historic status. As with most oak species, it can be identified by leaf shape.
Media
Illustration of virginia creeper leaves, stem, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Description
Occasionally confused with poison ivy, Virginia creeper is easily identified by simply noticing that most of its leaflets are in fives, instead of threes. This common native vine is useful in landscaping.
Media
Illustration of winged sumac leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus copallinum
Description
Winged sumac is most common south of the Missouri River. The "wings" in the name refer to the narrow, flattened leafy structures running along the central stems of the compound leaves.
Media
Photo of smooth sumac.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhus spp.
Description
Sumacs are shrubs or small trees that often form colonies from their creeping, branched roots. The foliage usually turns brilliant shades of red in early autumn. The clusters of berrylike fruits are red.
Media
rough-leaved dogwood
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus spp.
Description
Missouri’s five species of dogwoods are shrubs or small trees with distinctive flowers, fruits, and bark. The fruits may be red, white, or blue. The leaves have characteristic arching veins.
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 bush honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lonicera maackii (Amur) and Lonicera x bella (bella)
Description
If there’s a giant green thicket in your woods, you may have a bush honeysuckle infestation. These invasive plants are shrubby natives of Asia. In America, where they have no natural controls, they leaf out early, grow fast, spread fast, and form dense thickets that crowd out native forest plants.
Media
Photo of hawthorn trees blooming on lawn of Missouri state capitol
Species Types
Scientific Name
Various species in the genus Crataegus
Description
Our state flower, the hawthorn, is solidly represented in Missouri. There are about 100 different kinds of hawthorns that occupy almost every kind of soil in every part of the state. These members of the rose family are closely related to apples.
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.