Field Guide

Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

Showing 1 - 10 of 42 results
Media
Photo of a heavenly bamboo, nandina, plant growing in the woods.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nandina domestica
Description
Heavenly bamboo is hardly “heavenly” when it comes to its negative effects on our native plants and animals. A tremendously popular landscaping plant, it readily escapes and is difficult to eradicate.
Media
Leaves of riverbank grape in a thick growth of the vines
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vitis species
Description
Eight species of grapes in the genus Vitis are native or naturalized in Missouri. All bear edible fruits. Like their relatives elsewhere, they have important connections to humans and to nature.
Media
Illustration of common elderberry leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sambucus canadensis
Description
Common elderberry is a colony-forming shrub with opposite compound leaves. Its large, flattened clusters of small white flowers produce purple or black berrylike fruits.
Media
Illustration of prairie rose leaves, flowers, fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rosa setigera
Description
Also called climbing rose, prairie rose is most common near woodlands, where it climbs and trails on neighboring shrubs and small trees.
Media
A closeup of an acorn
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quercus spp.
Description
Oaks are the most important group of trees in Missouri, in both human and ecosystem value. They dominate most of the forests, woodlands, and savannas in the state. Learn more about our 22 species.
Media
Illustration of buckbrush leaves, flowers, fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Description
Buckbrush, or coralberry, grows throughout Missouri. This familiar thicket-forming shrub bears dense clusters of pinkish-red berries that persist through most of the winter.
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 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 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.
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.