Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 39 results
Media
Illustration of honey locust leaves, thorns, fruit.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gleditsia triacanthos
Description
Though it doesn’t reach a stately size, honey locust commands respect for its many large, strong, usually branched thorns, which can puncture tractor tires as easily as they can poke through tennis shoes! The long, leathery, twisting pods are relished by cattle and by wildlife.
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 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 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.
Media
Illustration of swamp dogwood leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cornus amomum
Description
Swamp dogwood, or silky dogwood, grows nearly statewide in wet locations. Recognize it by its reddish-brown or dark brown young branchlets and blue, berrylike fruit, conspicuous in late fall.
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 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.
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.