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Name That Plant 8/15/14

August 21, 2014

Posted in : Name That Plant


The Correct Answer Is: Oxydendron Arboreum

One of the first times I went nursery hopping in North Carolina I noticed the roadside landscape littered with small seedlings. I then began to see larger trees with the same foliage and I was in disbelief that the plant I was looking at was Sourwood or Sorrel tree. Indeed Oxydendron grows native from Pennsylvania to Georgia. I always fact check myself so as not to give out any misinformation. The Missouri Botanic Garden website lists as one of its attributes a straight trunk. If any growers read this they would probably laugh as the plant tends to grow crooked. Many times nurseries will give up on the plant because it requires work to grow it straight.

Once past its infant stages and staked, the tree will remain straight. Why sourwood? How about a white lily of the valley/Andromeda type flower that lasts for about two weeks. How about if I told you it blooms in July? You can count the number of trees that bloom in the summer on one hand. How about if I told you that you would be hard pressed to find a better fall color tree. The leaves are deep red with occasional orange mixed in, truly outstanding. Yes, and finally, it’s a native. Oxydendron will go to about 20 feet or so and will grow in light shade, but prefers full sun. Moist soil is preferable. This is one that the detectives would highly recommend.

Keep those guesses coming!

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