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Leucothoe racemosa

Common Name(s):
Swamp Doghobble, Sweetbells leucothoe
Native Plants, Shrubs

Leucothoe racemosa, commonly called fetter bush or sweetbells leucothoe, is a deciduous suckering shrub that is native to damp woodland soils along streambanks, pond peripheries and swamps from Massachusetts to Florida to Louisiana.

This plant sends out suckers to form colonies. 

Regions:  Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:  Fall                   Blooms:  Early spring, spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:    This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.  Its flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other polinators.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Although this plant has no serious insect or disease problems, it is susceptible to root rot and leaf spot.

4-6 ft.
The Swamp hobbledog has pointed, alternate, simple, oblong to elliptic, glossy green leaves (to 2.5" long) that have serrate margins. The leaves turn attractive shades of yellow, orange and red in fall.
The Swamp hobbledog bears fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers (to 1/3") in racemes (to 4" long) in spring and summer. Its flowers bloom in May-June. The flowers are followed by inconspicuous fruits (5-parted light brown capsules).
5 to 9
Deciduous to evergreen
The Swamp hobbledog grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade. It prefers a moist, cool, acidic soil. It can be grown in full sun, but must have good moisture. Does not tolerate drought or windy conditions. Although winter hardy to Zone 5, this shrub should be planted in a protected location and given a good winter mulch in cooler areas.
Spreading twiggy shrub
Part shade, shade
4-6 ft.
slope planting, foundation, pollinators, bank stabilizer, fall color, bees, fragrant, showy, butterflies, border, rock garden, deer resistant, evergreen

NCCES plant id: 1653

Leucothoe racemosa Leucothoe racemosa
Brenda Wiley, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Leucothoe racemosa Leucothoe racemosa
Emil Friend, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Leucothoe racemosa Leucothoe racemosa
Ken Dodds, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
 Eubotrys racemosa - whole plant
Charles_Wohlers, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Leucothe bract
mwms_1916, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0