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Oxydendrum arboreumOxydendrum arboreum

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Oxydendrum arboreum
  • PRONUNCIATION: ok-si-DEN-drum ar-BO-re-um
  • COMMON NAME: Sourwood
  • FAMILY: Ericaceae
  • NATIVITY: Pennsylvania west to Indiana and south to Florida.
  • GROWTH HABIT: An upright oval or pyramidal tree growing to 30'-40' in height under landscape conditions. Slow to medium growth rate.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 5-9
  • CULTURE: Requires a loose, well-drained acidic soil and adequate moisture. Will grow in full sun and partial shade Often found on shallow rocky slopes in its native habitat. This plant requires very specific conditions and will die if the conditions are not correct. I am on my fifth plant in an attempt to grow it well.
  • FACULTATIVE STATUS: [Facultative Upland]
  • LANDSCAPE USE: This plant is well worth the effort to grow despite finicky
    cultural requirements. A truly exceptional plant for the white flowers in June,
    the attractive fruit in august-September, and the stunning fall color.
  • FOLIAGE: Alternate, simple, 3"-7", oblong to oblong-lanceolate Acuminate apex
    and entire or serrulate margin. Light-green color darkening in the summer and
    turning yellow, red, deep maroon or purple color in the fall. May have all colors on one tree.
  • BUDS: Small and inconspicuous. The remnants of the inflorescence remain on
    the plant through the winter providing an excellent identification characteristic.
  • BARK: Young stems green, developing a red coloration in summer and fall.
    Bark is gray-brown at maturity divided into small, blocky ridges.
  • FRUIT: Small (1/4 inch) capsule persistent on the peduncle of the inflorescence.
    The entire inflorescence is approximately 4"-8" long. The fruit persists into the winter.
  • PESTS: Its persnickety cultural requirements!