A shrub or bush is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant.
Some shrubs are deciduous and others evergreen.
They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height, less than 6 meters (20 feet) tall.
Small, low shrubs such as lavender, periwinkle and thyme are often termed subshrubs.
A natural plant community dominated by shrubs is called a shrubland.
The word bush can also refer to a type of plant community, as in the Australian bush. This is often characterized by scrubby, open woodland and is a generic term for Eucalyptus dominated woodland in particular.
Shrubs are used in landscaping for their aesthetic appeal to human beings, appealing to people’s inner search for beauty through their colors, fragrances, patterns, and so forth.
A shrubbery is a garden with shrubs as the main feature.
A hedge or hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs, planted and trained to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area, such as between neighbouring properties. Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or one field from another, and of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees, are known as hedgerows.
A hedge maze is an outdoor garden maze or labyrinth in which the “walls” or dividers between passages are made of vertical hedges. Hedge mazes evolved from the knot gardens of Renaissance Europe, and were first constructed during the mid-16th century.
Puzzle-like hedge mazes featuring dead ends and tall hedges arrived in England during the reign of King William III of England. It was possible to get lost in the much-admired labyrinth of Versailles, built for Louis XIV of France in 1677 and destroyed in 1778.
Topiary is the horticultural practice of training perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes. Sometimes topiaries sculpted from shrubs depict animals, people or other recognizable objects, sometimes they are more abstract with globes, boxes, and pyramids. Shrub topiaries take some time to develop but often make the biggest visual impact.
The art of topiary has been practiced for centuries.
European topiary dates from Roman times. Pliny’s Natural History and the epigram writer Martial both credit Gaius Matius Calvinus, in the circle of Julius Caesar, with introducing the first topiary to Roman gardens, and Pliny the Younger describes in a letter the elaborate figures of animals, inscriptions, cyphers and obelisks in clipped greens at his Tuscan villa.
American portable style topiary was introduced to Disneyland around 1962. Walt Disney helped bring this new medium into being – wishing to recreate his cartoon characters throughout his theme park in the form of landscape shrubbery.
Ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus divided the plant world into trees, shrubs and herbs.