Plant DetailShow Menu

Symplocos tinctoria

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
sim-PLOH-kos tink-TOR-ee-ah
Description

Sweetleaf is a tardy deciduous shrub or small tree that may grow 20 feet tall. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin and yellow underside. The leaves are sweet to the taste. The bark is smooth and grayish brown to green initially. Warty lenticels and shallow pits develop as the tree ages. In early spring, small, white flowers mature. The small tree produces a 1/2-inch, orange-brown drupe that matures in late summer.

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating. 

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Early spring, spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#native shrub#cover plant#host plant#host#food source#fire#medium flammability#NC native#native garden#food source summer#cover#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#native shrub#cover plant#host plant#host#food source#fire#medium flammability#NC native#native garden#food source summer#cover#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symplocos
    Species:
    tinctoria
    Family:
    Symplocaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & South East U.S.A
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for King's Hairstreak butterfly. Adult butterflies nectar from the blooms in the spring. Fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    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 Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays in late summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Compact clusters of small, fragrant, cream-colored borne in profusion along the branches of the previous season's growth. Numerous stamens make the blooms particularly showy.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The foliage has a sweetish taste. Some leaves may remain on the tree until springtime.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    A short trunk with an open crown of spreading branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies