Virginia Tech Dendrology

eastern leatherwood Thymelaeaceae Dirca palustris L. Listen to the Latin symbol: DIPA9
Leaf: Alternate, simple, deciduous, ovate to elliptical, 2 to 4 inches long, thin, dark glossy green above and paler below, margins entire, initially with fine hairs but becoming glabrous, petioles are very short, fall color pale yellow.
Flower: In pendant clusters of three or fewer, individual flowers with yellow petals fused into a tube; appearing in early Spring with or slightly before the leaves.
Fruit: A small drupe to 1/2 long, green changing white to red at maturity.
Twig: Appearing jointed, flexible, gray-brown to red-brown, very flexible and difficult to snap; buds dark brown with a few fuzzy bud scales; leaf scars U-shaped, nearly encircling the bud.
Bark: Gray-brown and smooth, may develop slight corky ridges.
Form: A spindly shrub to 10 feet but more commonly to 5 feet.
Looks like: spicebush - buffalo nut - blackgum
leaf twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Dirca palustris is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting eastern leatherwood.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654