Natives – Trees and Shrubs

Native plants generally display better hardiness, disease and insect resistance and tolerate local weather extremes. Native plants conserve soil and water because they don’t require fertilizers and pesticides. Native plants also often provide habitat, shelter and food for birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Planting native varieties benefits songbirds, bees, butterflies and all the other pollinators that are responsible for so much of our produce. Check this out!

For more information about natives visit Grow Native! The  Grow Native! program helps protect and restore our state’s biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use.

Gardening with native plants only makes good sense. Just what is a native plant? A native is a plant that originated in our area and was not introduced from Europe or another far away location. The native program is divided into two groups of plants: Perennials & Grasses and Trees & Shrubs.


 paw paw

Asimina or Paw Paw

Cup-shaped purple spring flowers give way to edible yellow fruits. Fruit is large and symmetrical with sweet, superior flavor. Valuable source of food for much wildlife. 15-20 ft tall and wide. Tolerates wet soil.


Diospyros or Persimmon

Slow-growing tree that produces small, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. After frost, mature persimmon turn orange and taste similar to apricot. Persimmon fruit are a valuable food source to wildlife.


Chionanthus or White Fringetree

Shimmering white fringed flowers cover fringetree in May or June followed by small round fall fruit. Leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Grown as a small tree or large shrub.

 American Hornbeam

American Hornbeam

Native to Missouri, American Hornbeam is a  slow growing, low maintenance, medium-sized tree that has smooth gray bark and an attractive globular shape. It will grow in a lawn or woodland setting, as it prefers partial shade. Attractive yellow-orange fall color. 25-30 ft. tall.



Horizontal branches are smothered in small deep pink flowers in early spring before the tree leafs out. Red-purple, pea-shaped seed pods follow the flowers. Heart-shaped leaves become a quilt of yellow and green in fall. This native tree is the harbinger of spring and prefers sun or best yet, dappled shade.



Small, low-branched tree with spreading horizontal branches. Distinctive white flowers, 3″ in diameter, bloom mid-April to mid-May. Clusters of glossy red fruit in fall persist into winter and are relished by birds. Consistent deep red fall leaf color. Best as an understory tree or where some afternoon shade is provided.



A lovely small tree with slightly fragrant early white spring flowers.  Flowers give rise to very flavorful, purple-black, berrylike fruits relished by both songbirds and people. This lovely tree has colorful fall foliage in a blend of orange, gold, red and green and is a Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit.

 Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

This unique native shrub or small tree flowers from late winter into early spring, when little else is blooming in the landscape. The fragrant flowers are clustered or solitary, yellow to dark red in color. This Missouri native grows 6-10 ft and is a Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit.

 Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak is a fast-growing, long-lived, statuesque shade tree with dark green lustrous leaves. Fall color is russet to bright red. Long-lived and faster growing than other oaks. Fruits are acorns which mature in early fall.

 White Oak

White Oak

A large, majestic tree that is slow growing but an invaluable source of food for all types of wildlife including songbirds, beneficial insects and small animals. Good fall color. Many experts agree that if you only plant one tree in your lifetime, let it be an oak. Illinois state tree. 45-50 feet.

Swamp White Oak

Swamp White Oak

Swamp white oak is a large tree, 50-60 ft with a broad crown. Leaves are dark, shiny green above and silvery white beneath. Swamp white oak tolerates both wet and dry soils and grows rapidly.

Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bur oak is a majestic native North American oak. Bur Oak has the largest acorns and leaves of all the oaks. Slow growing and long-lived, 60-80 ft. Acorns have a mossy scale or bur near the rim, thus the name.

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin Oak

A rarity among oaks. Useful for growing in limestone soils. Drought tolerant. Toothed foliage turns yellow in the fall. 40-60 ft.



Large, 75-100 ft., nut producing tree that is best in full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Easy to grow, low maintenance tree that  requires ample water for best nut production. Seedlings have deep tap roots so difficult to transplant when large.


Black Cherry

Black Cherry

Small white spring flowers are followed by red summer fruit that birds and other wildlife feed upon. An important host plant for the tiger swallowtail butterfly.



Aronia or Chokeberry

Attractive dark glossy leaves, pinkish white spring flowers. Purplish-black summer fruit followed by intense reddish-orange autumn foliage. Tolerates both wet and dry soil. Sun or part shade. 6-8 ft.
We also have two smaller forms of aronia- Low Scape Mound at 1-2 ft. and Low Scape Hedger at 3-5 ft.


Bottlebrush Buckeye

Aesculus or Bottlebrush Buckeye

Large, upright feathery plumes of white flowers contrast with the rick, dark foliage. Blooms late summer when color is needed. Fall foliage is yellowish-bronze. Broad, rounded habit, great for mass plantings. 6-12 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide.

Callicarpa Pearl Glam

Callicarpa or Beautyberry 

Beautyberry has abundant white flowers in summer that develop into large purple-violet berries. Extremely showy in the autumn landscape. Vigorous upright plant. 3-4 ft.

 New Jersey Tea

Ceanothus or New Jersey Tea 

A compact native shrub with abundant, white spring flowers. A butterfly magnet! 2-4 feet tall.


 Button Bush Sugar Shack

Cephalanthus or Button Bush ‘Sugar Shack’

‘Sugar Shack’ is half the size of the true button bush species (3 to 4 ft. instead of 6-8 ft.). The cool looking fragrant, white flowers bloom in summer and are followed by red fruit.

 Clethra Sugar Crystalina

Clethra or Summersweet ‘Crystalina’

This dwarf, super fragrant clethra has pure white flowers in late summer. It has glossy foliage that holds a tight dense shape. Yellow fall foliage. 2-3 ft.

Artic Fire Dogwood

Cornus or Red Twig Dogwood ‘Arctic Fire’

Lovely dark red stems are beautiful in winter landscapes. Compact at just 3-5 feet. Sun or part shade.


Diervilla Kodiak Orange

Diervilla Kodiak Orange

A durable native plant that will thrive in sun or shade. It is drought tolerant and has small yellow flowers that support pollinators. The glowing orange foliage is especially showy in the fall. 2021 Proven Winner Landscape Shrub of the Year!

Gatsby Star Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea ‘Gatsby Star’ 

Gatsby Star is an oakleaf hydrangea with double white flowers that are pointed (instead of rounded) resulting in a prominent showy plant. The dark green foliage turns mahogany-red in autumn. 6-8 feet. Makes a superb privacy hedge.

Blues Festival Hypericum

Hypericum or St. John’s Wort ‘Blue’s Festival

Attractive blue leaves contrast with bright yellow flowers in July-August. Tightly branched, compact growth and a long bloom time. 1-2 ft.


 Itea 'Little Henry'

 Itea or Sweetspire  ‘Little Henry’ 

Loads of showy white spring flowers atop foliage that turns vivid orange-red in the fall. Brilliant fall foliage puts burning bush to shame! Only 2-3 ft. Tough, easy to grow, prefers moist soils and will tolerate wet conditions. It will grow in full sun to full shade and requires little pruning or other maintenance.


Ilex or Winterberry

‘Berry Poppins’ and ‘Mr. Poppins’ are the perfect couple for this dwarf, 3-4 ft. form of deciduous holly. Attractive bright red fall and winter berries linger all season and are food for birds and small wildlife.

Ninebark Ginger Wine

Pysocarpus or Ninebark Ginger Wine

Foliage emerges a glowing orange-red and matures to bright burgundy. Large white flowers in late spring give way to red seedheads. Sturdy upright stems. 5-6 ft.



A Missouri native and a Missouri Botanical Plant of Merit. A rounded multi-stemmed shrub covered with fragrant yellow-green flowers in early spring. The flowers open before the leaves emerge and are held close to the branches. Aromatic light green leaves turn deep yellow-gold in fall. Birds feed on the brilliant red fruits of the female plant. The larva (caterpillar) of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly feeds on the leaves of this shrub.

 Sumac Tiger Eye

Sumac ‘Tiger Eye’

Golden leaf form of staghorn sumac. New growth is showy chartreuse. Summer color is followed by even better orange-scarlet autumn. 3-6 ft. Full sun or part shade. It’s like a Japanese Maple for the shade!

Sumac Gro Low

Dense, low-growing shrub that is shorter at 18-24 inches than the species. Spreads by rhizomes to create thickets. Fall leaves are orange and red. Leaves and twigs are aromatic.


Arrowwood Viburnum

Viburnum dentatum or Arrowwood Viburnum

Clusters of white, flat-topped spring flowers are followed by blue-black fruit that attracts wildlife. Leaves turn orange and red in the fall. Needs plenty of space. 6-10 ft tall and wide.


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