Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Cyrilla racemiflora

Titi, Swamp titi, Black titi, White titi, Red titi, Leatherwood, Swamp cyrilla, American cyrilla, Burnwood bark, Palo colorado

Cyrillaceae (Titi Family)

Cyrilla racemiflora (Titi)
Dunatchik, David
Native from southeastern North America south through Central America and the West Indies to northeastern South America, this deciduous tree stays under 30 ft., and, though it looks shrubby for several years, eventually makes a slender tree with smooth, cinnamon-colored trunks; abundant, showy, whorled clusters of airy, white blooms; and dark-green leaves. In the northern part of its range, the leaves turn rust-red in fall, dropping in spring just as the new leaves unfurl. Farther south, plants are nearly evergreen. Summer fruits are yellow-brown.

In the upper mountain forests of Puerto Rico, Leatherwood is a large dominant tree known as palo colorado (red tree) because of its reddish-brown bark and wood. Bees produce a dark honey from the flowers.

Image Gallery:

17 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous , Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Oblanceolate , Oval
Leaf Venation: Reticulate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually up to 10 feet tall, sometimes as much as 35 feet tall.
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblanceolate to oval, rounded or pointed at the tip, narrowed to the base, thick, without teeth, smooth, sometimes nearly evergreen, reticulate-veined, up to 4 inches long, up to 1 inch wide.
Flower: Many, crowded in racemes borne on last years twigs; racemes up to 6 inches long; flower stalks subtended by slender bracts.
Fruit: Ovoid, dry, about 1/12 inch long, with 1-5 seeds, but only 1 seed maturing.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , DE , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to FL and TX, south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to northeastern South America.
Native Habitat: Low, wet pinelands; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils with high organic matter. Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam
Conditions Comments: Leatherwood does not tolerate competition from other trees or shrubs. It has no serious disease or insect problems.


Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental, Bog or pond area, Fall conspicuous, Water garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-bees, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2015-11-12