Difference Between Herbs and Shrubs

Herbs are defined as herbaceous plant according to botany, which means it does not have a woody stem and it also lacks branching system.

Shrubs are types of plants with a woody stem and Larger than herbs but smaller than trees. It can be differentiated from a tree as it has more branches all over the stem and also near to the ground.

Comparison Table Between Herbs and Shrubs

Parameters of ComparisonHerbsShrubs
SizeIt is smaller in size.It is comparatively bigger.
Stem It has a nonwoody soft stem.It has a stiff woody stem.
BranchIts stems do not have branches.It has many branches from the base to the top.
Growing Season It has an annual, biennial, and perennial growing season.It has a perennial growing season.
Example Rice, Onion, Wheat, Grass, etc., are examples of herbs.Rose, Peach, Orange, Lavender, etc., are examples of shrubs.

What are Herbs?

Herbs are types of plants that are short in height and don't have any woody stem. It has a soft green stem, and in some cases, it did not even have a stem, for example, grasses.

It can have different life cycles like annual, biennial, or perennial according to the time it takes to grow completely and then die to form a new plant from it.

It has aromatic and medicinal properties that are useful for us. Due to these properties, it is used as medicine and also in foods to give a unique flavour.

It can reproduce by seeds, flowers, and artificial methods like the stem cutting method. Some are fast-growing species and grow naturally in forests, grasslands, desert, etc., and some are cultivated using different methods for various purposes.


What are Shrubs?

Plants are divided into many types. In which Shrubs are the type of plants that have woody branches and larger as compared to herbs but smaller than trees. It also has many branches that start from its base.

It can be evergreen as well as deciduous. The life cycle of shrubs is generally perennial, which means it takes more than two years to grow completely and then die.

Shrubs are of many kinds, some bear fruits and flowers, and some only have left on them. They are useful in many ways according to their types. The Shrubs that bear fruits are cultivated for commercial reasons, and some are cultivated just for decorative purposes.

It has long and stiff roots that hold it with grounds so it can not be uprooted easily. There are a lot of examples of shrubs. Some of them are Rose, Orange, Peach, etc.


Main Differences Between Herbs and Shrubs

  1. Herbs have three growing seasons, annual, biennial, and perennial, but Shrubs' life cycle is of perennial type.
  2. Herbs are used for various purposes like medicines, for giving a unique flavour to food, for tea, etc., and Shrubs are used for decorative purposes and to get fruits.
Difference Between Herbs and Shrubs


Many people in the past tried to group all living things into particular categories. Theophrastus was an ancient Greek philosopher. First, he divided the plants into three types, trees, herbs, and shrubs. He uses many criteria like their height, their different type of stem, cells, and tissues of plants to differentiate them.

In contrast, Shrubs are the type of plant that is comparatively bigger, and it has a stiff woody stem. It has a large number of stems that started from its base.


  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20177200410
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Abdul_Matin5/publication/45725648_Traditional_Use_of_Herbs_Shrubs_and_Trees_of_Shogran_Valley_Mansehra_Pakistan/links/546213280cf2c1a63c0291ee.pdf
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