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Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum

Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboreum
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White fragrant flowers in early summer. Leaves are rich green, turning yellow, red and purple in fall. Prefers full sun. Grows to 25'-30', 20' spread. (zones 5-9)

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Zones 5 - 9 Zones 5 - 9
Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
The Sourwood can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Ornamental Tree Ornamental Tree
Type of tree
Ornamental Trees, Shade Trees
25' - 30' High 25' - 30' High
Mature Height
The Sourwood grows to be 25' - 30' feet in height.
20' Spread 20' Spread
Mature Spread
The Sourwood has a spread of about 20' at full maturity.
Medium Growth Medium Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a medium growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
Sun
This Sourwood does well in full sun.
Various Soils Various Soils
Soil
The Sourwood grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wide range, clay soils.
Oval Shape Oval Shape
Shape
This Sourwood has oval, pyramidal shape.
Attributes

A medium-sized tree, the Sourwood is often used in landscapes as an ornamental addition to larger trees because of its brilliant fall foliage which is unrivaled for its intense beauty and the showy late-summer flowers. It has few pest or disease problems and is easily treated for the ones it does encounter.

Description

White fragrant flowers in early summer. Leaves are rich green, turning yellow, red and purple in fall. Prefers full sun. Grows to 25'-30', 20' spread. (zones 5-9)

Wildlife Value

Deer browse sourwood twigs and leaves. Gourmet honey is produced by the many bees that are attracted to the nectar-laden flowers.

History/Lore/Use

A native tree of North America, the sourwood is one of the few endemic trees that is not found in other continents unless planted, and has no related species. The name Sourwood is derived from the acrid taste of its leaves, but tea made from these leaves is widely used by mountain climbers as a thirst-quencher. Pioneers used the sap as one ingredient in a concoction used for treating fevers, the bark for chewing to soothe mouth pains, and leaf tea for treating diarrhea, indigestion and dysentery. But the best known by-product of the Sourwood tree is the hard-to-find and extremely delicious honey produced from the fragrant blossoms by honeybees.

Moisture

Normal moisture required, and has some drought tolerance.

Leaves

This tree alternate leaves, simple, elliptic or oblong 4 to 8 inches long. Dark green color in summer, brilliant red in autumn.

Flower Color

White, very noticeable, fragrant, 4 to 10 inches long and wide.

Bloom Time

June - early July.

Fruit Description

The fruit is oval-shaped and under 1/2 inch in diameter.