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Cliftonia monophylla (Buckwheat tree)
Cressler, Alan

Cliftonia monophylla

Cliftonia monophylla (Lam.) Britton ex Sarg.

Buckwheat Tree, Buckwheat Bush

Cyrillaceae (Cyrilla Family)


USDA Symbol: CLMO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A thicket-forming shrub or small tree to 12-18 ft., sometimes more, with attractive, dark, shiny, thick leaves and white to pinkish, terminal or axillary, fragrant flower clusters. Conspicuous anthers are orange-colored. Fruits are yellowish and buckwheat-like.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: Up to about 45 feet tall, often much shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from GA to FL & LA
Native Habitat: Acid swamps, bogs & wet ditches

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet, acid peaty or sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: Does not tolerate competition from other trees or shrubs. No serious disease or insect problems.


Description: Increase by cuttings taken in mid-summer.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: OBL OBL
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
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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