Skip to main content
Select Source:

shrub

shrub, any woody, perennial, bushy plant that branches into several stems or trunks at the base and is smaller than a tree. Shrubs are an important feature of permanent landscape planting, being used for formal decorative groups, hedges, screens, and background plantings, to which they contribute pattern, color, fragrance, or utility. In the natural style of landscape gardening they are simply allowed to grow untended, but in many gardens they are pruned in the spring or fall for greater shapeliness and to induce more compact growth. Many shrubs are beautiful even in winter because some keep their green foliage (as in the evergreen arborvitae and rhododendron), while many deciduous shrubs have decorative stem and branch forms or brightly colored fruits. Among the most frequently used shrubs in NE America are the lilac, viburnum, forsythia, azalea, flowering shadbush, cotoneaster, and barberry. In arid, arctic, and other regions of extreme climatic conditions where trees do not thrive, shrubs often provide valuable forage for wildlife and livestock as well as wood for local construction and for fuel. Tree species may grow as shrubs under unfavorable environmental conditions, and the distinction between trees and shrubs becomes one of usage rather than of strictly botanical characteristics.

See D. Wyman, Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens (rev. ed. 1969).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrub

"shrub." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrub

shrub

shrub1 / shrəb/ • n. a woody plant that is smaller than a tree and has several main stems arising at or near the ground. DERIVATIVES: shrub·by adj. shrub2 • n. 1. a drink made of sweetened fruit juice and liquor, typically rum or brandy. 2. a slightly acid cordial made from fruit juice and water.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-0

"shrub." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-0

shrub

shrub A perennial woody plant, less than 10 m tall, which branches below or near ground level into several main stems, although it has no clear trunk. It may be deciduous (e.g. hawthorn) or evergreen (e.g. holly). At the end of each growing season there is no die-back of the aerial parts, apart from the loss of foliage. Compare HERB; SUBSHRUB; and TREE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-0

"shrub." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-0

shrub

shrub1 woody plant smaller than a tree. OE. sċrybb (evidenced Once), *sċrybb prob. ‘shrubbery, underwood’; cf. NFris. skrobb broom, brushwood, WFlem. schrobbe climbing wild pea or vetch, Norw. skrubba dwarf cornel, Da. dial. skrub brushwood. Cf. SCRUB2.
Hence shrubbery XVIII.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-1

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-1

shrub

shrub(bush) A woody plant which branches below or near ground level into several main stems, so has no clear trunk. It may be deciduous (e.g. hawthorn) or evergreen (e.g. holly). At the end of each growing season there is no die-back of the axes. Compare herb; subshrub; and tree.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub

"shrub." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub

shrub

shrub (bush) Woody, perennial plant that is smaller than a tree. Instead of having a main stem, a shrub branches at, or slightly above, ground level into several stems. Its hard stem distinguishes it from an herb.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrub

"shrub." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrub

shrub

shrub2 drink prepared from acid fruit, etc. XVIII. — Arab. šarāb sb. drink, f. šariba vb. drink.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-2

"shrub." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub-2

shrub

shrub A bottled cordial made from various fruits, spirits, and sugar.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub

"shrub." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub

shrub

shrubblub, bub, chub, Chubb, club, cub, drub, dub, flub, grub, hub, nub, pub, rub, scrub, shrub, slub, snub, stub, sub, tub •Beelzebub • hubbub • syllabub •wolfcub • nightclub • bathtub •twintub • washtub

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"shrub." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"shrub." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub

"shrub." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shrub