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Oxydendrum arboreum - (L.)DC.

Common Name Sorrel Tree, Sourwood
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Well-drained gravelly soils on ridges rising above the banks of streams[82].
Range South-eastern N. America - Pennsylvania to Florida, west to Louisiana and Ohio.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Oxydendrum arboreum Sorrel Tree, Sourwood

Oxydendrum arboreum Sorrel Tree, Sourwood


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Late fall, Mid summer, Mid fall. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Oxydendrum arboreum is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.



Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw[11, 105, 161]. A pleasant acid flavour[82]. They allay thirst[61].

Medicinal Uses

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Cardiac;  Diuretic;  Refrigerant;  Tonic.

The leaves are cardiac, diuretic, refrigerant and tonic[61, 82]. A tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea, indigestion and to check excessive menstrual bleeding[222, 257]. It is diuretic and is a folk remedy for treating fevers, kidney and bladder ailments[82, 222]. The bark has been chewed in the treatment of mouth ulcers[222, 257].

Other Uses


Wood - heavy, hard, attractive, very close grained. It weighs 46lb per cubic foot and is sometimes used for panelling, tool handles, bearings etc[82, 229, 235].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Specimen. Requires a moist well-drained lime-free soil[200]. Prefers a pH in the range of 4 to 6[200]. Succeeds in light dappled shade or in full sun[200], it appreciates the protection of other tall shrubs and trees[1, 200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is rather slow growing, especially when growing at the limits of its hardiness[200]. Plants can flower in 4 - 5 years from seed. The flowers are sweetly scented[245]. Transplant with care, plants may take some time to re-establish themselves[200]. The flowers are very attractive to bees[49, 229]. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.


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Surface sow the seed[113] in a shady place in a greenhouse either as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[200] or in late winter[78]. Germination is variable[78]. Put outside in a shady position as soon as it germinates and overwinter in a frame[78]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seedlings are susceptible to damping off and so should be kept well-ventilated and should not be over-watered. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Layering.

Other Names

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Subject : Oxydendrum arboreum  
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