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Oxydendrum arboreum

Very happy to have some Sourwood on the Reserve for the honey bees! Sourwood honey is prized, even though the name of the tree is from the sour taste of the leaves. The nectar must be more sweet.

This is a very beautiful tree, with cool flowers that almost resemble lily-of-the-valley.

I read that Cherokee and Catawba tribes would use the shoots of the sourwood to make arrowshafts, however I’m not 100% sure if this is true.

Size: 30-60' tall
Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Habitat: Moist to dry forests, forest edges, fields and roadsides, prefers acidic soils.
Identification: A medium-sized deciduous tree with a slender crown. Bark on mature trees is deeply furrowed. Leaves are alternate 3-5 in. long, elliptical with finely toothed margins, turning scarlet in the fall. Small, white, bell-shaped flowers in dropping curved racemes. Fruit is a small, woody erect capsule in one-sided drooping clusters.  Flowers June-July

All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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