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Wicopy Dirca palustris

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
DIR-kah pahl-US-triss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Leatherwood is a native deciduous shrub found in forested or natural areas in rich woods. It prefers moist, humus-rich sandy or clay soils in shade to part shade. It forms a dense, rounded form with pale green, oval-shaped leaves and blooms in early spring with small yellow bell-shaped flowers followed by drupes. It is fairly rare and not used in the landscape often as it can be hard to find. In nature, it can be found growing in very rich forests, on slopes or bottomlands, and is limited to calcareous or mafic rocks such as limestone, calcareous siltstone, calcareous shale, gabbro, or amphibolite. It can be found in Ashe County NC ascending to 1500 meters elevation. 

Foliage turns yellow in fall. Long-lived and slow-growing. Pliable twigs used as cordage by Native Americans. Fruits and roots have slight toxicity; some people's skin reacts to exposure to the bark.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#yellow#poisonous#partial shade#shrub#partial sun#slow growing#shade tolerant#yellow flowers#toxic#shade shrub#deciduous shrub#piedmont#native shrub#shade garden#woody#low maintenance#spring flowers#coastal#drupe#small mammals#moist soil#food source#NC native#well-drained soil#multistemmed#spreading#forest#alkaline soil#small and large mammals#yellow fruits#red fruits#native garden#mountains#drupes#delicate colors#coastal plant#long lifespan#woodland#green fruits#summer interest#coastal areas#spreads#spring interest#alkaline soil tolerant#early spring flowers#summer fruits#food source summer#erect#mid-spring flowers#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fall color yellow#wet soils tolerant#fruits#native#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#full shade#Coastal FACU#shade#fruit#part sun#part shade#songbirds#shade flowers#flowering#flower#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#yellow#poisonous#partial shade#shrub#partial sun#slow growing#shade tolerant#yellow flowers#toxic#shade shrub#deciduous shrub#piedmont#native shrub#shade garden#woody#low maintenance#spring flowers#coastal#drupe#small mammals#moist soil#food source#NC native#well-drained soil#multistemmed#spreading#forest#alkaline soil#small and large mammals#yellow fruits#red fruits#native garden#mountains#drupes#delicate colors#coastal plant#long lifespan#woodland#green fruits#summer interest#coastal areas#spreads#spring interest#alkaline soil tolerant#early spring flowers#summer fruits#food source summer#erect#mid-spring flowers#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fall color yellow#wet soils tolerant#fruits#native#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#full shade#Coastal FACU#shade#fruit#part sun#part shade#songbirds#shade flowers#flowering#flower#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dirca
    Species:
    palustris
    Family:
    Thymelaeaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used the twigs and bark for bowstrings, baskets, fishing line and rope
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Canada to North Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB , NS , ON
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds and small mammals enjoy the fruits as a food source.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Green to red drupe. In North Carolina, the yellow-green fruits are available from June to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Pale yellow flowers have long yellow stamens, are bell-shaped, and up to 1/3 inch long. They are borne in axillary clusters in the early spring. In North Carolina, flowers are available from March to April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-4 inch long leaves are yellow-green when new and mature to medium green in summer. Fall color is bright yellow.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    wrinkled gray bark, fibrous bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Brown jointed twigs with ring-like joints are very flexible
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting, diarrhea if eaten. Contact with bark may cause skin irritation with blisters lasting for a few minutes.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Resins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems