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Lyonia ferruginea (Rusty staggerbush)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Lyonia ferruginea

Lyonia ferruginea (Walter) Nutt.

Rusty Staggerbush, Dragon Tree, Tree Lyonia, Staggerbush

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Xolisma ferruginea


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Evergreen shrub or small tree with crooked trunk, irregular crown, and tiny, nearly round flowers.

This tree is often called "Staggerbush" because of its crooked trunks. The Latin species name, meaning "rust-colored," refers to the leaf lower surfaces.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually found as a shrub up to about 15 feet tall. Sometimes grows as a tree, up to about 35 feet tall.

Bloom Information

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


Native Distribution: Extreme S. South Carolina, SE. Georgia, and Florida; to 300' (91 m).
Native Habitat: Sandy soils of mixed woods and on dunes.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FACU
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.


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 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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