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Cyrilla racemiflora (Titi)
Fannon, Carolyn

Cyrilla racemiflora

Cyrilla racemiflora L.

Titi, Swamp Titi, Black Titi, White Titi, Red Titi, Leatherwood, Swamp Cyrilla, American Cyrilla, Burnwood Bark, Palo Colorado

Cyrillaceae (Cyrilla Family)

Synonym(s): Cyrilla antillana

USDA Symbol: cyra

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N)

Native from southeastern North America south through Central America and the West Indies to northeastern South America, this deciduous tree stays under 30 ft., and, though it looks shrubby for several years, eventually makes a slender tree with smooth, cinnamon-colored trunks; abundant, showy, whorled clusters of airy, white blooms; and dark-green leaves. In the northern part of its range, the leaves turn rust-red in fall, dropping in spring just as the new leaves unfurl. Farther south, plants are nearly evergreen. Summer fruits are yellow-brown.

In the upper mountain forests of Puerto Rico, Leatherwood is a large dominant tree known as palo colorado ("red tree") because of its reddish-brown bark and wood. Bees produce a dark honey from the flowers.


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous , Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Oblanceolate , Oval
Leaf Venation: Reticulate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually up to 10 feet tall, sometimes as much as 35 feet tall.
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblanceolate to oval, rounded or pointed at the tip, narrowed to the base, thick, without teeth, smooth, sometimes nearly evergreen, reticulate-veined, up to 4 inches long, up to 1 inch wide.
Flower: Many, crowded in racemes borne on last year's twigs; racemes up to 6 inches long; flower stalks subtended by slender bracts.
Fruit: Ovoid, dry, about 1/12 inch long, with 1-5 seeds, but only 1 seed maturing.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , DE , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to FL and TX, south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to northeastern South America.
Native Habitat: Low, wet pinelands; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils with high organic matter. Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam
Conditions Comments: Leatherwood does not tolerate competition from other trees or shrubs. It has no serious disease or insect problems.


Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental, Bog or pond area, Fall conspicuous, Water garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-bees, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Root Cuttings
Description: Cutting root in high percentages. Root cuttings should be taken during the fall or winter, while softwood cuttings should be taken in early summer. Seeds can be direct sown.
Seed Collection: Capsules nearing maturity should be clipped from the tree before they split open.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no special treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

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
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
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.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 17 - Southern Wetland Flora: Field Office Guide to Plant Species (0) U.S. Department of Agriculture. No date. Southern wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, South Nat...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-03-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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