Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 49 results
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 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 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 Japanese honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lonicera japonica
Description
Don’t kid yourself about this invasive, exotic vine: Japanese honeysuckle is an aggressive colonizer that shades out native plants and harms natural communities. Learn how to recognize it!
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 common buckthorn leaves and fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhamnus cathartica
Description
You might see common buckthorn for sale at a nursery, but don’t buy it! At least six states have banned this invasive exotic, and the difficult-to-control plant is causing problems here in Missouri, too. Learn how to identify it — and avoid it!
Media
Illustration of shingle oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus imbricaria
Description
Shingle oak got its name because the naturalist who discovered it noticed that French colonists in Illinois were using the wood to make roofing shingles. The leaves resemble those of laurel (bay), lacking lobes or teeth — but laurel trees don't bear acorns!
Media
Illustration of American hazelnut leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corylus americana
Description
American hazelnut is a thicket-forming shrub that grows to about 10 feet high. It is prized for its edible nuts, which are covered by a distinctive leafy or papery, jagged-edged bract.
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.