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Mountain Sweet-pepperbush Clethra acuminata

Phonetic Spelling
KLETH-rah ah-kew-min-AY-tah
Description

Mountain Pepperbush is a small, deciduous tree or shrub that is native to eastern North America and is found in the mountains of NC. It can be grown as a tree up to 20 feet or pruned to be more shrub-like if desired. The rich green foliage, horizontal branching habit, and prolific blooms make it a great specimen for smaller yards. As the tree ages, the outer bark exfoliates to reveal a cinnamon color. In the summer, small, white bell flowers appear on drooping racemes that provide nectar to pollinators. The fall color is yellow.

In its native habitat, it grows in moist, well-drained, humus-rich, acidic rocky soil but will adapt to drier sites. It grows in sun to dappled shade but blooming in best in partial sun. 

Generally trouble-free, but fungal dieback and root rot sometimes affect plants

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#gold#fragrant#hummingbirds#white#deciduous#fall color#small tree#partial shade#fragrant flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#native tree#native shrub#food source#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#Braham Arboretum#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#fall color yellow#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#gold#fragrant#hummingbirds#white#deciduous#fall color#small tree#partial shade#fragrant flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#native tree#native shrub#food source#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#Braham Arboretum#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#fall color yellow#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Clethra
    Species:
    acuminata
    Family:
    Clethraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States, NC
    Distribution:
    NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, KY, VI, WV, PA
    Wildlife Value:
    Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the nectar of the blooms. Its seeds are eaten by birds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    moderately resistant to deer damage
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Peppercorn-shaped seed capsules in racemes. Displays from September to October
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    3-8 inch drooping racemes of white, bell-shaped flowers with extruded stamens are fragrant and open from the base to the tip. Blooms June- Aug.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-6 inch long medium to dark green, alternate, and simple leaves. The base is narrowly cuneate to rounded and the apex is acuminate (pointed). Undersides are pubescent. The fall color is yellow-gold.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    Its bark may appear mottled as outer portions peel away to reveal a cinnamon color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer