Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 38 results
Media
Illustration of eastern redbud leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cercis canadensis
Description
Eastern redbud is a native shrub or small tree that is distinctly ornamental in spring with small, clustered, rose-purple flowers covering the bare branches before the leaves.
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 eastern red cedar stem, leaves, and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Juniperus virginiana
Description
By far the most common native conifer in the state, eastern red cedar is useful for its aromatic, red wood and beloved for its greenery, its resinous blue “berries,” and the spicy odor it lends the outdoors.
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
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
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.
Media
Illustration of possum haw leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ilex decidua
Description
Possum haw, or deciduous holly, is the more common of two native Missouri hollies that lose their leaves each fall. This shrub or small tree is eye-catching in the fall and winter with its bright red berries.
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.