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Cyrilla racemiflora L.
Swamp titi, Titi, Leatherwood, Swamp cyrilla, Palo colorado
Synonym(s): Cyrilla antillana
USDA Symbol: CYRA
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Flower:
Flowers 4 inches Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
, VA Native Distribution:
Coastal plain from s.e. VA
south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to northeastern South America. Native Habitat:
Low, wet pinelands; stream banks
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental, Bog or pond area, Fall conspicuous, Water garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-bees, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Root Cuttings Description:
Cutting root in high percentages. Root cuttings should be taken during the fall or winter, while softwood cuttings should be taken in early summer. Seeds can be direct sown. Seed Collection:
Capsules nearing maturity should be clipped from the tree
before they split open. Seed Treatment:
Seeds require no special treatment. Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff