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Sweetleaf Symplocos tinctoria

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Sweetleaf:

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. In nature, it can be found in moist bottomland forests, pocosin edges, mesic forests, ridgetop forests, and sandhills. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin and yellow underside. The leaves are edible and sweet to the taste. In early spring, small, white flowers mature. The small tree produces a 1/2-inch, orange-brown drupe that matures in late summer. Best planted in naturalized areas with access to full to partial sun. 

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating. 

Seasons of Interest: 

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

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#acidic soil tolerant#native shrub#food source summer#food source nectar#orange fruits#flower#host#deciduous#large shrub#summer fruits#part sun#part shade#food source pollen#food source#bird friendly#full sun#showy#full sun flowers#coastal plant#yellow#fragrant#pollinators#songbirds#piedmont#yellow flowers#dry soils tolerant#cover plant#NC native#flowering#mid-spring flowers#tree#fruits#early spring flowers#pollinator plant#food source soft mast fruit#woodland#food source herbage#native#flowering shrub#cream flowers#acidic soil#butterfly larvae#pollinator garden#small mammals#creamy white#fire#deciduous tree#cover#coastal#nectar plant spring#flowering tree#larval host tree#small tree#semi-evergreen#medium flammability#butterfly friendly#native tree#food source soft-mast fruit#spring interest#coastal areas#partial sun#mountains#birds#larval host plant#native garden#edible leaves#Piedmont Mountains FAC#partial shade#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#coastal FAC#full sunlight#summer interest#naturalized area#shrub#yellow fruits#butterflies#coast#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symplocos
    Species:
    tinctoria
    Family:
    Symplocaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    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 enjoy the nectar from the blooms in the spring. Fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals.
    Edibility:
    The foliage has a sweet taste.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    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 pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    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
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays in late summer. In North Carolina, the fruits are available from August to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    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. In North Carolina, flowers are available from March to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple green alternate leaves with smooth margins and yellow undersides. Some leaves may remain on the tree until springtime.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Bumpy
    Lenticels
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth and grayish brown to green initially. Warty lenticels and shallow pits develop as the tree ages.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    A short trunk with an open crown of spreading branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Small Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade