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
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.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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
BenefitUse Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental
Use Wildlife: Foliage relished by browsers. Nectar-insects, Browse, Seeds-granivorous birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
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...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
BibliographyBibref 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
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Symplocos tinctoria in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Symplocos tinctoria in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Symplocos tinctoria
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff