(Oxydendrum arboreum)
The Heath Family (Ericaceae)

Medium-sized tree with crooked branches, alternate, simple, shiny deciduous leaves that turn orange or red in autumn; and deeply furrowed, grayish-brown bark.


Well-drained woodlands of bluffs, ravines and hills; clearings.

Interesting Facts: 

Its common name refers to the sour taste of its leaves, which can be consumed by humans. Honey produced from its flowers is highly prized. Wood used for making tools, bearings, and sled runners, but not commercially viable. Leaves used as a diuretic and for treating fevers as well as heart, kidney and bladder disorders.

Brown egg-shaped capsules along slender spikes that when mature and dry in fall, release very tiny, 2-winged seeds.
White, urn-shaped blooms .25” long on drooping panicles, appearing in mid-summer at twig tips. Similar to Lily of the Valley blossoms.
Wildlife value: 
Very valuable pollen source for native and honey bees and other pollinating insects; leaves browsed by deer.
Leaf type: 
Wildlife value: 
Tree dimensions: 

Leaf length: 4.00-7.00 inches
Tree height: 30.00-70.00 feet

Where to find Sourwood on the Louisiana State Arboretum Trails:

TER - Walker Terrace 18.0

Refer to our Live Map to locate this species and its interpretative signage on the trail system.