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Lyonia lucida (Shining fetterbush)
Cressler, Alan

Lyonia lucida

Lyonia lucida (Lam.) K. Koch

Shining Fetterbush, Fetterbush Lyonia, Shinyleaf, Fetterbush, Staggerbush

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Desmothamnus lucidus, Neopieris nitida

USDA Symbol: LYLU3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Shinyleaf or fetterbush is a usually 3-6 ft. high suckering, open, arching evergreen with urn-shaped, pinkish-white flowers occurring in axillary racemes. The attractive foliage is glossy-green and leathery.

Fetterbush is a member of the heath family (family Ericaceae) which is widespread, especially on acid soils, with about 1500 species, mostly shrubs, sometimes trees; 15 native tree and many native shrub species in North America.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Dark brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Flowers appear before the new year's growth.


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to FL, w. to LA
Native Habitat: Pocosins; low woods; shrub-tree bogs & bays

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, acidic soil
Conditions Comments: Very difficult to keep in good condition under normal conditions of cultivation. Tends to become weak and susceptible to leaf spot under even mild stress. To avoid this, plant in moist soil with good drainage and then avoid the typical, heavy lawn watering. Can take brief seasonal flooding, though.


Use Ornamental: A glossy-leaved, showy-flowered, evergreen shrub for naturalizing in masses within its range.
Use Wildlife: Flowers visited by bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes


Propagation Material: Root Cuttings , Root Division , Seeds
Description: Sow seeds in spring.
Seed Collection: Overwinter at room temperature.
Seed Treatment: No treatment necessary
Maintenance: No maintenance recommended except cutting back to keep it at a favored height. A plant that is easy care if established in a favorable site and then left on its own.

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:

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
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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