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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Symplocos tinctoria (Horsesugar)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Symplocos tinctoria

Symplocos tinctoria (L.) L'Hér.

Horsesugar, Common sweetleaf, Sweetleaf, Yellowwood

Symplocaceae (Sweetleaf Family)

Synonym(s): Symplocos tinctoria var. ashei, Symplocos tinctoria var. pygmaea

USDA Symbol: SYTI

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A deciduous or weakly evergreen shrub or small tree to 18 ft. that usually flowers before the leaves appear. The compact clusters of small, fragrant, cream-colored flowers are borne in profusion along the branches of the previous seasonís growth. Numerous stamens make the blooms particularly showy. Shrub or small tree with short trunk, open crown of spreading branches, and foliage with sweetish taste.

The common names Sweetleaf and Horsesugar refer to the tasty foliage, which livestock eat greedily. The name Yellowwood and the Latin species name allude to a yellow dye once obtained from the bark and leaves. The bark, like others with bitter aromatic properties, was used by early settlers as a tonic.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Fruit: Orange
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , NY , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: S. DE to FL, w. to e. TX; also s.e. OK, AR & TN
Native Habitat: Sandy thickets; alluvial woods; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet or moist, sandy or alluvial soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Acid-based.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental
Use Wildlife: Foliage relished by browsers. Nectar-insects, Browse, Seeds-granivorous birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Kings hairstreak butterfly.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FAC FAC
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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Symplocos tinctoria in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Symplocos tinctoria in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Symplocos tinctoria

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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