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Leucothoe axillaris (Coastal doghobble)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Leucothoe axillaris

Leucothoe axillaris (Lam.) D. Don

Coastal Doghobble, Coast Leucothoe

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Leucothoe axillaris var. ambigens, Leucothoe platyphylla


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Coast Doghobble or Coast Leucothoe is a multi-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen shrub, 2-6 ft. tall, with a fountain-like arching habit. Flowers are white, waxy bells clustered in drooping spikes. Branches are zig-zagged toward the end and the lance-shaped, dark-green, glossy foliage turns red-green and purple in winter.

In very humid areas, the plant must have at least six hours of sunlight to discourage leaf spot diseases. It will not tolerate drought or drying winds. Rejuvenate by cutting to the ground after flowering.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Normally 2 to 4 feet tall, occasionally to 6 feet.
Leaf: Green. New leaves and winter leaves bronze.
Flower: Spires 1 to 3 inches long.
Fruit: Dark brown.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Color white washed with pink. Flowers on past year's growth.


USA: AL , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MS , NC , SC , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to FL Panhandle, w. to LA
Native Habitat: Wet woods on coastal plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, rich, acidic soils.
Conditions Comments: In very humid areas, the plant must have at least six hours of sunlight to discourage leaf spot diseases. It also requires good air circulation. It will not tolerate drought, drying winds, or normal lawn overwatering.


Use Ornamental: A low-growing, shade-loving, glossy-leaved, evergreen shrub well adapted to the moist conditions of the southeastern coastal plain.
Use Wildlife: Flowers used by bees. Foliage browsed by deer.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: No


Propagation Material: Hardwood Cuttings , Seeds
Description: Directly sow seeds on moist peat. Firm cuttings root readily when treated with hormone.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Rejuvenate by cutting to the ground after flowering.

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


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

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Web Reference

Webref 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

Research Literature

Reslit 2610 - Studies of floral morphology in the Ericales. I. Organography and vascular anatomy in the Andromedeae (1951) B. F. Palser
Reslit 2611 - Studies of floral morphology in the Ericales. II. Megasporogenesis and megagametophyte development in the Andromedeae (1952) B. F. Palser
Reslit 2612 - Leucothoe axillaris and L. fontanesiana (1963) P. S. Green
Reslit 2613 - Evolutionary studies in the Ericaceae. II. Leaf anatomy as a phylogenetic index in the Andromedeae (1964) K. Lems
Reslit 2614 - Growth inhibition of ericaceous plants from metolachlor (1990) J. R. Frank, C. E. Beste
Reslit 2615 - New North American records of anamorphic powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) parasitizing species of Leucothoe and Limnanthes (2007) M. L. Putnam, D. A. Glawe
Reslit 2616 - A phylogenetic analysis of Leucothoe s.l. (Ericaceae; tribe Gaultherieae) based on phenotypic characters (2008) K. Waselkov, W. S. Judd
Reslit 2617 - The phylogeny of Leucothoe s. l. (Ericaceae: Vaccinioideae) based on morphological and molecular (ndhF, matK, and nrITS) data (2010) C. M. Bush, W. S. Judd, L. Frazier, K. A. Kron
Reslit 2618 - First report of stem dieback and leaf spot of Leucothoe caused by Cylindrocladium colhounii in North Carolina (2011) D. M. Benson, K. C. Parker, M. Munster, K. L. Ivor...
Reslit 2619 - Fertilizer, irrigation, and natural Ericaceous root and soil inoculum (NERS): Effects on container-grown ericaceous nursery crop biomass, tissue nutrient concentration, and leachate nutrient quality (2011) G. M. Zinati, J. Dighton, A.-J. Both

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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