(Symplocos tinctoria )
The Sweetleaf Family (Symplocaceae)

Horsesugar, also known as Sweetleaf, is a multi-trunked shrub to small tree with alternate, evergreen leaves, striped grayish bark and fragrant showy blossoms on bare branches in spring.


Sandy thickets, alluvial woods, stream banks.

Interesting Facts: 

The fresh leaves, with their sweet, “sour apple” flavor, are edible for humans and livestock. The leaves and roots are used to produce a yellow dye. Host plant to the King’s Hairstreak Butterfly. In springtime a fungal gall called Exobasidium symploci can form on the newly emerging leaves causing large, fleshy, edible growths.

Dry drupes, .5” long, egg-shaped, orangish-brown, mature in late summer.
Male and female flowers are in clusters of small creamy white petals with numerous stamens that appear as fuzzy globes before the new leaves appear.
Wildlife value: 
Leaves and branches are a forage plant for mammals; flowers attract insects; and seeds are a source of food for some bird species.
Fungal gall
Leaf type: 
Wildlife value: 
Tree dimensions: 

Leaf length: 2.00-6.00 inches
Tree height: 18.00-30.00 feet

Where to find Horsesugar on the Louisiana State Arboretum Trails:

BCY - Bald Cypress Loop 8.0

TER - Walker Terrace 8.0

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