Today's Ozark forest is mostly white oak and shortleaf pine, Missouri's only native pine species. Along the rivers sycamore and cottonwood are common, along with river birch and maples. In the understory, redbud and dogwood are abundant, putting on a spectacular show most springs. Sassafras, maples, wild viburnum, nine bark and hawthorne are also common.
Trees and Shrubs
The forests of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways are living testimonials to nature's ability to heal. The area was largely deforested in the late 1800s to provide lumber for the railroads expanding across the Great Plains. It is believed that the forest composition has changed since that time, with more oaks and less pines, and perhaps more understory species and less open savannah.