Difference Between Herbs and Shrubs (With Table)

All living things on earth are divided mainly into two categories, the first is Animals and the second one is Plants. Plants are further divided into many other subcategories, in which Herbs and Shrubs are two different categories of plants that are normally confused as same.

Herbs vs Shrubs

The main difference between Herbs and Shrubs is in their size and pattern of their branches. Herbs are smaller in size, and it has unbranched, soft stems on the other hand Shrubs are taller than herbs, and it has branched, and woody stems.

Herbs are defined as herbaceous plant according to botany, which means it does not have a woody stem and it also lacks branching system. The growing season can be annual, biennial, or perennial, which means the plant die and grows back after one year, two years, or more than two years, respectively.

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. The growing season is normally perennial. Its height can be around 6 to 10 m.

Comparison Table Between Herbs and Shrubs

Parameters of Comparison




It is smaller in size.

It is comparatively bigger.


It has a nonwoody soft stem.

It has a stiff woody stem.


Its 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.


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 grows low to the ground and can go up to 2-3 meters in height.

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. After completing one life cycle, the stem dies completely, and the fruit or flowering part grows again as a new plant. It can also grow in the canopy of shrubs.

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. Other than culinary and medicinal use, it is also used to make tea leaves and sometimes to perform some rituals.

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. Some examples of useful herbs are mint, rice, wheat, onion, etc.