Oxydendrum arboreum ‘Sourwood’


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Variety description: This outstanding native tree has many attributes which make a fine addition to the landscape. Commonly called sourwood or sorrel tree, Oxydendrum is a deciduous understory tree that is native to the eastern United States from Pennsylvania south to Florida and Louisiana.

Gray bark on mature trees is fissured, ridged and scaly. Finely-toothed, glossy green leaves (to 5-8” long) are reminiscent of peach. Leaves have a sour taste, hence the common name. Leaves produce consistently excellent fall color, typically turning crimson red. Waxy, lily-of-the-valley-like, white flowers bloom on slender, drooping, one-sided terminal panicles (4-8” long) in early summer. Flowers have a slight fragrance. Flower panicle stems remains in place as the flowers give way to 5-parted dry capsules that ripen to silver-gray in September. Capsules contrast well with the red fall color and provide continuing ornamental interest after leaf drop into winter. Flowers are quite attractive to bees.

Site requirements: Full sun to part shade location. Flowers are fewer in shadier locations. Prefers rich moist, well-drained soil. Acidic soils full of composted organic matter are ideal.

Size at maturity: 20-25′ tall and 10-15′ spread.

Pests and diseases: None.

Hardiness: USDA zones 5-9.

Plant sizes: 2 year old seedling, 18-24” tall with a well developed root system. Grown in a 1 quart container.