AY Honor Shrubs Answer Key

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Shrubs AY Honor.png
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Note three characteristics of shrubs that distinguish them from trees and herbs. Why is a grape vine sometimes regarded as a shrub?

These are the differences between trees and shrubs:

  1. Shrubs do not grow as tall as trees, generally not reaching higher than 4.5 meters15 feet.
  2. A shrub's trunk has a circumference of less than 24 cm9.5 inches at 1.4 meters4.5 feet above the ground.
  3. Shrubs often have multiple trunks, while trees generally have a single, central trunk.

On the other end of the spectrum, herbs are seed-bearing plants without woody stems, which die down to the ground after flowering. Shrubs are also seed-bearing, but they have woody stems which remain over the winter.

Why is the grapevine considered a shrub? Let's consider what we know about grapevines in light of the above definition of a shrub:

  1. Grapevines have woody stems
  2. Grapevines are less than 24 cm9.5 inches around.
  3. Grapevines do not grow over 4.5 meters15 feet on their own - they may climb a tree to reach that height, but on their own, they cannot get that tall. If a grapevine has nothing to climb, it will take on the form of a shrub.


Name three important wild or cultivated food shrubs of your locality. Name a shrub that produces edible nuts.

Some important food shrubs include:

  • Grape
  • Highbush blueberry
  • Lowbush blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Raspberry
  • Mulberry
  • Cranberry
  • Fig
  • Pomegranate
  • Kumquat
  • Guava
  • Red Currant
  • Black Currant
  • Gooseberry
  • Juneberries
  • Serviceberry
  • Elderberry

Even if people do not eat the food these shurbs provide, they are an important source of food for wildlife.

The hazel is a genus of about ten species of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere. Species include the Common Hazel and the Filbert, both of which produce edible nuts with which most of us are familiar.


Name two cultivated shrubs and two wild shrubs of your locality that produce showy flowers.

These shrubs grow in many areas. The table below indicates where the plants grow in the wild, and where they are cultivated.

Shrub Wild Cultivated
Azalea North America, Asia, Europe, Australia Worldwide
Clematis Temperate Zones, Worldwide Temperate Zones, Worldwide
Forsythia Asia, Europe North America
Hibiscus Worldwide Worldwide
Lilac Europe, Asia Worldwide
Mountain Laurel Eastern North America


Do most shrubs blossom in the spring, summer, or autumn? Name one shrub whose flowers open before the leaves appear.

Most shrubs bloom in the spring.



Forsythia (Forsythia)

Description: Forsythias are popular early spring flowering shrubs in gardens and parks. Two are commonly cultivated for ornament, Forsythia × intermedia and Forsythia suspensa. They are both spring flowering shrubs, with yellow flowers. They are grown and prized for being tough, reliable garden plants. Forsythia × intermedia is the more commonly grown, is smaller, has an upright habit, and produces strongly coloured flowers. Forsythia suspensa is a large to very large shrub, can be grown as a weeping shrub on banks, and has paler flowers. Many named garden cultivars can also be found.

Blooming season: Early Spring

Flower color: yellow



Fothergilla (Fothergilla)

Description: Fothergilla (fothergilla or witchalder) is a genus of two or three species of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, native to the southeastern United States.

Blooming season: Spring

Flower color: white

Fall foliage color: Brilliant orange or red



Redbud (Cercis)

Description: Redbuds are native to warm-temperate regions. They are small deciduous trees or large shrubs, characterized by simple, rounded to heart-shaped leaves and pinkish-red flowers borne in the early spring on bare leafless shoots.

Range: Common from southernmost Canada to piedmont Alabama and East Texas.

Blooming season: Early Spring

Flower color: Pink

Fall foliage color: Yellow

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

Yulan Magnolia (Magnolia denudata)

Description: The Naked or Yulan Magnolia is a deciduous shrub, exceptionally a small tree, to 6m tall, and blooms profusely in early spring with large ivory white showy flowers, before the leaf buds open.

Range: Native to southwest China, cultivated in North America and Europe

Blooming season: Early Spring

Flower color: White

Fall foliage color: Green-Yellow


What parasitic shrub frequently used for indoor decoration grows on the high branches of different kinds of trees?

Mistletoe on a Silver birch tree Santalales

Mistletoe on a Silver birch tree Santalales

Mistletoe (Santalales)

Description: Mistletoe is a plant parasitic on the branches of a tree or shrub. The species grow on a wide range of trees, and can eventually prove fatal to them where infestation is heavy, though damage more commonly only results in growth reduction. All mistletoes are hemiparasites, bearing evergreen leaves that carry out some photosynthesis on their own, relying on the host mainly for water and the mineral nutrients it carries. Mistletoe figured prominently in Norse mythology (which some believe is the origin of the modern Western custom of kissing under bunches of it hung as holiday decorations). Nowadays, mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration. According to a custom of Christmas cheer, any two people who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss.


Give an example of a shrub whose leaves in autumn turn from green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, or red.

The Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum) is a deciduous shrub or tree native to northeastern North America from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland, and south to Pennsylvania. It also grows at high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia. Mountain Maple grows 3-8 m tall, forming a spreading shrub or small tree having a short trunk and slender branches. The leaves turn brilliant yellow to red in autumn, and are on slender stalks usually longer than the blade.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) is another shrub with yellow to orange to red fall foliage. This plant is native to the Eastern United States from New Jersey to Louisiana. It has beautiful white flowers in the spring.

Fothergilla (Fothergilla) is a genus of shrubs that produces gold, orange, and scarlet foliage in the fall.

Vine maple "Acer circinatum" grows up to 20 feet tall in western parts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and northern California. The deciduous leaves turn yellow, orange and red in the fall.


Observe some shrub which is in bloom and list as many kinds of insects as you can (at least three) which come to its blossoms for pollen or nectar.

Because most shrubs bloom in the spring, this honor will be easiest to earn during that season. Some shrubs hold their blossoms through the summer, and a few will even bloom well into autumn. Witch Hazel is a very unusual shrub in that it does not bloom until October or November. During this time, it may have on its branches yellow leaves, full blossoms, and ripe nuts from the previous year's flowers - all at the same time.

This requirement may effectively prevent you from teaching this honor in the winter, but it would be a wonderful honor to offer during the Pathfinder "off season" (that is, during the summer) on a Sabbath afternoon.

Shrub Spring Summer Autumn
Azalea Yes check.svg
Viburnum Yes check.svg
Lilac Yes check.svg
Blueberry Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Cranberry Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Huckleberry Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Hydrangea Yes check.svg Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Sweet Pepperbush Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Buddleia Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Abelia Yes check.svg Yes check.svg
Witch Hazel Yes check.svg

Compare this requirement with requirement 6e of the Flowers honor (this is also a requirement that can optionally be used in Flowers - Advanced).

Also compare to Requirement 7 of the Shrubs - Advanced Honor which requires you observe a shrub for a month.


From what shrubs do birds prefer to eat the fruit or seeds? Name a shrub whose flowers attracts birds.

Birds love to eat berries from almost any kind of shrub that produces them. Serviceberries, juneberries, currants, mulberry, elderberry, are all very popular with birds, as are blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Birds also like to eat the berries from viburnums, spicebush, winterberries, hollies, and dogwoods.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers of the honeysuckle, as they produce a sweet nectar (some people eat honeysuckle nectar too).


In what shrubs do birds prefer to build their nests?

Birds like to build their nests in shrubs that offer lots of protection from the weather and from predators. Shrubs that provide nesting include dogwoods, viburnums, bayberry, and juniper.


Collect, preserve, and correctly identify the flowers, leaves, seeds, seed pods, or twigs with buds of ten wild shrubs.

For this requirement, we recommend that you use a good field guide. Here are some suggestions: