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Difference Between Shrub And Bush


Trees, shrubs, and bushes are common words you hear when studying botany or horticulture. People often mention their favorite plants planted in their garden or backyard. Thus, a conversation about plants and trees is usually impossible without the mention of shrubs and bushes. And unsurprisingly, often individuals new to gardening confuse them both.

If you are also looking for an answer, we got you covered. Keep reading to learn all the differences between shrubs and bushes.

DefinitionSmaller treesSmaller than
shrubs and trees
Height6 – 10 meters3 meters
StructureLeaves do not
touch the ground
Stems and leaves
are low hanging
FoliageThick and broadLess thick
MaintenanceRequiredNot required
ExamplesLemon, jasmine, etc.Lavender, rose, etc.

What is a Shrub?

A shrub is a woody, thick plant with a few stems or smaller trunks at the base. Shrubs are shorter than trees in height and are often used as decorative plants. Different types of biodiversity, such as forest biodiversity, are abundant with shrubs. They stay just above the ground surface throughout the year, and their branches may or may not slightly touch the ground.

Shrubs do not have proper trunks like trees and have broad leaves. The absence of a trunk is replaced by a few or many stems that support the structure of the plant. They typically live in sunny areas and are seasonal. Shrubs are hardy plants and generally grow in all types of soil.

Besides their utilization in elevating the beauty of your garden, they also prevent soil erosion. They are often grown as backdrops and garden beds. Shrubs in some areas may be used for lumber and firewood. They contribute to the food webs and food chains by producing fruits consumed by animals, birds, and humans.

Shrubs are of various kinds, such as evergreen, flowering, low growing, large, fragrant, and shade-loving shrubs.


What is a Bush?

Bushes and shrubs are often confused, just like algae and moss. While bushes are similar to shrubs, they can be distinguished on the basis of a few characteristics. They are smaller plants, typically shorter than shrubs as well. However, they may have denser stems with thinner undergrowth. They are fuller than shrubs, and their height almost touches the ground, even on maturation.

Bushes provide similar benefits to shrubs, yet you may find them in unkempt areas. They may grow as multiple bushes side by side, giving rise to a wide area of busy appearance. They are home to different eukaryotic organisms like insects, reptiles, and amphibians, depending on their habitat and ecosystem.


Similarities Between Shrubs and Bushes

  • Shrubs and bushes belong to the kingdom Plantae.
  • They are shorter than trees in height.
  • Shrubs and bushes have multiple stems instead of one thick trunk.

Difference between Shrub and Bush



Shrubs are vascular plants that prevent water and soil erosion. These have a shorter height than trees.


On the contrary, bushes are plants with expanded multiple stems taking more area.



Shrubs may grow to a height of 6 to 10 meters or up to 33 feet tall.


On the other hand, bushes are typically shorter than shrubs measuring as low as 3 meters.



Shrubs are taller, and their leaves do not touch the ground.


Contrarily, bushes may be low-lying, with the stem and foliage touching the ground surface sometimes.



Shrubs have thicker and broader lives.


Alternatively, the leaves of bushes are not as big or thick as shrubs.



Gardeners also categorize shrubs as plants that need proper maintenance to stay in shape when arranged as hedges or boundaries.


On the contrary, bushes do not require proper pruning or maintenance and may grow intertwined with other plants in different biomes and ecosystems.



Lemon, juniper, and jasmine are examples of shrubs.


Examples of bushes include lavender, blueberry, roses, etc.

Are Shrubs and Bushes Interchangeable?

Despite the differences between the two explained above, there is debate if shrubs and bushes differ. They do not exist as specific phyla or classes of plants in the classification system and are used interchangeably. However, they are often recognized by their location and growth patterns. Technically, gardeners take free-growing, low-maintenance, shorter-than-trees plants as bushes. And they refer to similar plants requiring maintenance as shrubs. The name of each type of plant also depends on the location and local names. Some people may be surprised to see that you take both kinds to be different from one another. However, a few might tell you where you can find each.

The Bottom Line

Shrubs and Bushes are as confused by people as fungi and mold. They apparently look the same but have their distinct features. Shrubs and bushes are non-woody plants that are shorter than trees. Furthermore, bushes are said to be lesser in height than shrubs. The leaves of both also vary in thickness and size. The leaves of shrubs are thicker and broader than bushes. Bushes have a more ‘bushy’ structure with rich foliage and stem almost touching the ground. On the other hand, shrubs are comparatively tall.


Is shrub the same as bush?

Shrubs and bushes are not exactly the same, but the terms are widely used interchangeably worldwide. They are shorter than trees and do not have thick trunks. Shrubs and bushes are typically used for protection and adornment.

What’s the difference between a plant and a shrub?

Shrubs are a type of plant, typically between 6 to 10 meters. Plants taller than 1 foot up to 33 feet may sometimes be referred to as shrubs. However, those less than 1 foot are not classified as shrubs at all.

What is the difference between bush and shrub rose?

Shrubs roses are a more diverse group than modern bush roses. They have comparatively thornier stems and fragrant flowers appearing only once in summer.

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