Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum
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)Pricing Information
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Hardiness Zones 5 - 9The Sourwood can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeOrnamental Trees, Shade Trees
Mature HeightThe Sourwood grows to be 25' - 30' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe Sourwood has a spread of about 20' at full maturity.
SunThis Sourwood does well in full sun.
SoilThe Sourwood grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wide range, clay soils.
ShapeThis Sourwood has oval, pyramidal shape.
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.
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)
Deer browse sourwood twigs and leaves. Gourmet honey is produced by the many bees that are attracted to the nectar-laden flowers.
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.
Normal moisture required, and has some drought tolerance.
This tree alternate leaves, simple, elliptic or oblong 4 to 8 inches long. Dark green color in summer, brilliant red in autumn.
White, very noticeable, fragrant, 4 to 10 inches long and wide.
June - early July.
The fruit is oval-shaped and under 1/2 inch in diameter.
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.