Dirca palustris L.
Eastern Leatherwood, Western Leatherwood, Ropebark, Wicopy
Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum Family)
Synonym(s): Dirca decipiens, Dirca mexicana
USDA Symbol: DIPA9
A short, dense shrub, usually 3-6 ft. tall, with solitary or few short trunks and ascending, candelabra-like branching. Narrow, yellow, bell-shaped flowers hang in pendulous clusters and last a long time. Leaves are dark green in summer, turning a clear yellow for fall.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Green, Purple, Red
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON
Native Distribution: S. Que. to MN, s. to FL, AL & OK
Native Habitat: Moist, rich, wooded slopes & bottomlands
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, organic soils.
Conditions Comments: No serious disease or insect problems. Full sun can stress the plant. Contact with broken wood can cause severe dermatitis.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Low.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Minor skin irritation when touched, low toxicity if ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea; contact with bark may cause skin irritation with blisters. Toxic Principle: Resin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Seed can be sown outside as soon as it is ripe. The seeds need a cold period of about three months to germinate. Cuttings are difficult to root. Layering offers a method of vegetative reproduction.
Commercially Avail: yes
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:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Dirca palustris in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dirca palustris in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dirca palustris
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff