What are bushes

The words bush, tree or plant are commonly used erroneously in the colloquial sphere, when we speak in a relaxed way between friends or family. However, a bush is much more than a small tree and it is important to know its exact definition and what really differentiates a bush from a tree.

What are shrubs and their characteristics

The mistake of thinking that the only thing that differentiates a tree from a bush is its size is very common. Thus, the majority of people without knowledge of gardening or botany call trees those species with more than two meters in height, shrubs to intermediate ones and plants in general to herbaceous ones, which are smaller in size. The characteristics of the bushes , fortunately, are much more specific and easy to define.

  • For starters, what defines a shrub is not its size at all, although it tends to be one of the characteristics that are most quickly identified. So if we talk about how big the bushes are , we can say that they can reach heights of up to 6 meters, and even more sometimes. However, in general, its size is usually much smaller.
  • A bush is a woody plant species , that is, it has its stems and its hard and rigid, lignified branches, which raise its structure not on a single trunk, like trees , but with branches that are already divided from their base at ground level or even below.
  • Another characteristic of the shrubs is the large number of roots that they develop and how thick they are from low height, which makes them very popular as hedges and to delimit spaces in gardening. However, these traits, of course, vary greatly from species to species.
  • We can also indicate that they are species with great resistance to climate changes.

Depending on the area in which we are talking, we can classify the bushes differently. A classification is to distinguish flowering shrubs for those who do not produce, another difference between evergreen shrubs of which are shrubs deciduous leaf . When we want to prepare a green area, it is also common to think about which are the fast growing bushes or which are the slower growing bushes .

However, one of the most used classifications to define the types of shrubs is the one that differentiates them according to their size. The climbing shrubs are those that require a surface or support of some sort that used to rely on it in different ways, growing around this structure. They are very popular for the decoration of pergolas, facades, walls and surfaces of all kinds. The shrubs are not climbers , who are the majority, they do not require this assistance and are able to support themselves.

Shrub names

Here are some examples of shrubs :


Azaleas are plants of the genus Rhododendron. These are small, evergreen shrubs that rarely exceed 50 cm in height and originate from Asia. These are plants highly valued for their flowers, in white, red or yellow colors, which are very showy and decorative. They are semi-shadow species that resist frosts down to -2 ° C or -3 ° C, which is why they are often used in slightly cold climates.


The Hydrangea macrophylla , much better known by its name as hydrangea, is a shrub up to 3 meters high that has its origin in Japan, although it is currently widely spread. Like the azalea, it is very popular for its flowers, which it produces grouped in large inflorescences of striking whites, reds and pinks. Also like the azalea, it prefers semi-shade and resists light frosts.


Plants of the genus Lavandula , commonly called lavender, lavender or lavender, are a whole genus with about 60 species. It is a wild shrub, which requires very little care to grow and which will bring a pleasant and unmistakable aroma to any space. It also stands out for its medicinal properties, highly appreciated in infusions of its leaves.

Other names of shrubs

  • Gardenia
  • Camelia
  • Hibiscus
  • Celindo
  • Buganvilla
  • Abelia
  • China rose
  • Cape Milkmaid

Difference between tree and bush

The defining characteristic when it comes to differentiating a tree from a bush is not the height, but the trunk , as we mentioned before. If it has a single trunk, from which secondary branches start from a certain height, it is a tree (here you can learn about different types of trees ), while, if it is already branched from its base, it is a shrub.

It must be taken into account here that there are some species, such as the olive tree, that humans prune and modify so that they adopt arboreal appearance and thus give more fruit or conform to certain aesthetic canons, but since it is a modification artificial, does not make them stop being shrubs.

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