sourwood Ericaceae Oxydendrum arboreum (L.) DC. Listen to the Latin symbol: OXAR Other Fact Sheets
Leaf: Alternate, simple, elliptical to lanceolate, 4 to 7 inches long, very finely serrate to ciliate, very slight pubescence on the mid-vein below, green above and paler below. A sour taste is obvious when the leaf is chewed
Flower: Species is monoecious; white, 1/4 inch long, urn-shaped, borne on drooping panicles, reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley flowers, appear in mid-summer.
Fruit: Dehiscent, 5-valved capsules borne on panicles. Capsules are dry when mature in fall and release the very tiny, 2-winged seeds.
Twig: Olive green, changing to red, with buds that are small, round and oppressed (almost absent); leaf scars are elevated with one bundle scar.
Bark: Grayish brown, very thick with deep furrows and scaly ridges; often the ridges are broken into recognizable rectangles.
Form: A small tree maybe up to 60 feet tall, usually with poor form with crooked branches and an irregular crown.

Looks like: blackgum - blackgum - sassafras
leaf flower fruit twig bark form map
Additional Range Information:
Oxydendrum arboreum is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting sourwood.
More: Fall Color
External Links:
USDAFS Silvics of North America
USDAFS Additional Silvics
USDA Plants Database
Horticulture
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Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
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