Native Alternatives for Bradford Pear & Other Exotic Flowering Trees
For alternatives to these exotic or problem flowering trees:
                        Bradford and Callery pears (Pyrus calleryana)
                As well as:
                        
Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
                        Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
                        Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

We recommend the following sites for control of Bradford and other Callery pears:
                        
Stop the Spread!, Missouri Department of Conservation
                        "Stop the spread!" of Invasive Callery Pear Tree Hybrids, City of Columbia,
                            Missouri

Some recommended alternatives to Bradford, Callery pears and Others: 

Aesculus pavia
Red buckeye

Red buckeye is a clump-forming shrub or small tree that typically grows 10-20’ tall. Showy 4-10” long panicles of red to orange-red tubular flowers appear in spring and attract hummingbirds. Shiny, dark green leaves are attractive in spring and early summer, but usually begin to decline by August. Seeds are poisonous and are avoided by most wildlife.


Amelanchier arborea
Serviceberry

This large shrub or small tree typically grows 15-25' tall and features good fall color and showy, slightly fragrant, white flowers in early spring. Flowers give way to small, round green berries which turn red and finally mature to a dark purplish-black in early summer. The edible berries resemble blueberries in size and color and are often used in jams, jellies and pies. Best placed with dark or shaded backdrops which tend to highlight the form, flowers and fall color of the plant.
Carpinus caroliniana
American hornbeam

An attractively shaped, low-maintenance understory tree for shady sites, this Missouri native is a slow-growing, small to medium-sized (20-35' tall) tree with an attractive globular form.  The smooth, gray trunk and larger branches of a mature tree exhibit a distinctive muscle-like fluting that has given rise to another common name of musclewood for this tree. Dark green leaves often produce respectable shades of yellow, orange and red in fall.
Cercis canadensis
Redbud

This popular Missouri native typically grows 20-30’ tall with a slightly larger spread. It is particularly noted for its stunning rose-purple flowers which cover its bare branches in early spring (March-April). It performs best in moderately fertile soils with regular and consistent moisture but is intolerant of wet or poorly drained soils. Since this tree does not transplant well, it should be planted when young and left undisturbed.

Chionanthus virginicus
Fringe tree

Plant this small tree (typically 12 to 20' tall) in full sun for the best flowers, which are intensely fragrant and can be smelled before the tree is seen. The unusual delicate ‘strap-like’ flower petals hang from the ends of stout branches. At the peak of its bloom the whitest white petals cover and hang from the tree rivaling a snowstorm. Good yellow fall color.
Cladrastis kentukea
Yellowwood

Excellent, low-maintenance, small shade tree (30-50' tall) for residential lawns, particularly on smaller properties.  The roots go deep, so other plants may be easily grown underneath. It features intensely fragrant, wisteria-like, white flowers in clusters 10-15" long that virtually cover a mature tree in late spring. Good yellow fall color.
Cornus alternifolia
Pagoda dogwood

Small deciduous tree or large multi-stemmed shrub (15-25’ tall) with distinctive tiered (layered) horizontal branching which is upward-turned at the tips reminiscent of a pagoda. Small, fragrant, yellowish-white flowers bloom in late spring (May-June). Flowers give way to bluish-black fruits on red stalks. Leaves turn reddish-purple often tinted yellow or green in fall. Attracts birds and butterflies.
Cornus florida
Flowering dogwood

Though this Missouri native dogwood grows as an understory tree in shady areas, many cultivars were developed for planting in yards where the numerous flower bracts and berries are unrivaled. The crimson fall leaf color and tight, blocky bark are also unique. Though transplanting a native tree may be tempting, the fine cultivars available are a better choice. In the East, a disease, a type of anthracnose, has killed many dogwoods…but not in Missouri.
Cotinus obovatus
American smoke tree

This small tree or upright shrub (20-30' tall) gets its common name from the billowy hairs (attached to elongated stalks on the spent flower clusters) which turn a smoky pink to purplish pink in summer, thus covering the tree with fluffy, hazy, smoke-like puffs. Bluish green leaves turn a variety of colors in the fall (including yellow, red, orange and reddish purple) and produce some of the best fall color of any of the native American trees and shrubs.
Crataegus viridis
Green hawthorn

Green hawthorns are beautiful flowering trees. They grow 20-35’ tall and are largely thornless. Flowers are followed by small red fruits that ripen in September and usually persist on the tree well into winter. Leaves turn purple to red in fall. Attractive to birds and butterflies.
Magnolia tripetala
Umbrella tree

The long, shiny green leaves (24" long and to 10" wide) of this deciduous magnolia appear in whorl-like clusters at the stem tips, purportedly resembling the spokes of an umbrella. It is a small (30' tall) understory tree that is often multi-trunked. Large, malodorus but showy, creamy white flowers (6-10" across) bloom in spring shortly after the leaves emerge. Flowers are followed by cone-like pink fruits that ripen in fall.
Nyssa sylvatica
Black gum

This Missouri native is a stately tree with a straight trunk and rounded crown (more pyramidal when young) that typically grows 30-50' tall. Although the flowers are not showy, they are an excellent nectar source for bees while the fruits, which are technically edible but quite sour, are attractive to birds and wildlife. Good tree for wet, periodically flooded conditions. Spectacular scarlet fall color. It is NOT related to sweet gum.
Ostrya virginiana
Eastern hop hornbeam

This interesting small tree (25-40' tall) features female catkins, followed by drooping clusters of sac-like, seed-bearing pods which, as the common name suggests, somewhat resemble the fruit of hops. Also commonly called ironwood because of its extremely hard and dense wood.
Prunus americana
Wild plum

This is a small (15-25' tall) tree or multi-stemmed shrub which suckers freely and can form large colonies. It may have thorns and is more suitable for a woodland area rather than the typical home landscape. Unpleasantly aromatic white flowers appear in March before the foliage and are are followed by edible, round, red plums with bright yellow pulp which ripen in early summer. However, this species is usually grown for ornamental value and not for fruit production. Fall color is yellow to red. It provides valuable nesting cover for birds, is a host to many butterflies, and is an important nectar source for native bees, bumble bees and honey bees.
No Image Prunus mexicana
Mexican plum

This is the common wild plum often seen at the edges of forests. Unlike P. americana and P. virginiana, it does not sucker. It grows 15-35 ' tall and features fragrant, white flowers on bare branches in early spring that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Plums ripen from July through September and attract birds and other wildlife. Furthermore, it is a larval host for tiger swallowtails and Cecropia moths.
Prunus virginiana
Chokecherry

Chokecherry is a small (20-30’ tall) suckering tree that features fragrant white flowers in elongated clusters in mid-spring. Flowers give way to clusters of globular, pea-sized berries that ripen to dark purple/black in August. Fruits are very attractive to many birds and animals thus its other common name: Virginia bird cherry. Also attracts butterflies. Weak wooded and susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests.
Ptelea trifoliata
Hop tree

This small tree (10-20') features shiny, dark green leaves which turn greenish yellow in autumn.  Its several common names are very descriptive: (a) hop tree (in reference to a prior use of the seeds as a substitute for hops), (b) wafer ash (in reference to the thin, wafer-like appearance of the seed and (c) stinking ash (in reference to the unpleasant smell of not only the flowers but also bruised foliage and bark). It is however tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. Furthermore, it is an important larval host for the giant swallowtail butterfly and the Eastern tiger swallowtail, while the flowers, although unappealing to humans, produce nectar that attracts many butterflies and other pollinators.
Rhamnus caroliniana
Carolina buckthorn

This deciduous shrub or small tree (10-15' tall) is noted for its bright shiny green leaves and edible fruits. Leaves retain green color long into fall before eventually turning an unexciting yellow-green. Somewhat insignificant, creamy-green flowers are followed by edible berry-like drupes (1/3" across) which ripen to a very showy red before finally maturing in September-October to black. Birds are very attracted to the fruit. Also, attracts butterflies. Some authorities call this species Frangula caroliniana.
Sassafras albidum
Sassafras

Sassafras is a small to medium-sized tree that spreads by root suckers to form large colonies in the wild. Attractive, greenish-yellow flowers appear in clusters at the branch ends in spring. Flowers on female trees (if pollinated) give way to small pendant clusters of bluish-black berries, each in a scarlet cup-like receptacle on a scarlet stalk. Excellent yellow, purple and red fall color. Attracts birds and butterflies, and is a larval host for spicebush butterfly, tiger swallowtail, and others.
Staphylea trifolia
Bladdernut

This is a fast-growing, suckering large shrub or small tree (10-15' tall) that prefers part to full shade. It features dark green leaves and white, bell-shaped flowers in drooping clusters that appear in spring. Flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, egg-shaped, papery seed capsules which mature in late summer and often persist into early winter. Seed capsules add interest to dried flower arrangements.
Viburnum prunifolium
Blackhaw viburnum

Usually grown as a large, multi-stemmed shrub (12-15'), blackhaw may also be grown as a small, single trunk tree (30'). Non-fragrant white flowers in flat-topped clusters appear in spring and give way in autumn to blue-black, berry-like fruit that often persists into winter and attracts birds and wildlife. Glossy dark green leaves turn attractive shades of red and purple in fall.
Viburnum rufidulum
Rusty blackhaw viburnum

Also called Southern blackhaw, this is a suckering shrub or small tree that typically grows 10-20’ tall. The glossy, dark green leaves are leathery and the undersides are rusty brown as are the buds and young stems. Tiny white flowers in showy rounded clusters bloom in spring and are followed by clusters of edible, dark blue berries that ripen in September-October. Birds are attracted to the fruit. Foliage turns reddish purple in fall.