We depend on donations from users of our database of over 8000 edible and useful plants to keep making it available free of charge and to further extend and improve it. In recent months donations are down, and we are spending more than we receive. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Symplocos tinctoria - (L.)L'Hér.

Common Name Sweet Leaf, Common sweetleaf
Family Symplocaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woods, swamps and bottomlands[43]. Rich moist soils, often in the shade of dense forests[82].
Range South-eastern N. America - Florida to Arkansas, north to Delaware.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Symplocos tinctoria Sweet Leaf, Common sweetleaf


Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. South National Technical Center, Fort Worth.
Symplocos tinctoria Sweet Leaf, Common sweetleaf
William S. Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

Translate this page:

Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Symplocos tinctoria is an evergreen Shrub growing to 8 m (26ft 3in). It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

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

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw. Thick and downy, they have a pleasant sweet smell and taste[245]. Chewed for their pleasantly sweet, slightly acid flavour that is refreshing and helps to ease thirst[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Febrifuge  Tonic

The bitter, aromatic roots have been used as a tonic[46, 82]. A decoction of the scraped roots has been used in the treatment of fevers[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Dye  Mordant  Wood

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves, the bark and the fruits[1, 46, 82]. We have no specific information for this species but many species in this genus contain alum and can be used as mordants when dyeing[168]. Wood - soft, weak, light, close grained, easily worked[46, 82, 235]. It weighs 33lb per cubic foot[235]. Used for turnery[46, 82].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Easily grown in any fertile soil[182]. Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained fertile acid to neutral soil[200]. Plants are often found growing in dense shade in the wild[82]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it only succeeds outdoors in a sheltered position in the warmest counties of the country[182]. Forms of this species that are hardy in Britain might exist in the north of the plants range or at higher elevations[11]. This species is not a true evergreen, but in climates with mild winters the previous years leaves are not lost until after the new leaves come into growth[229]. Self-sterile, it needs cross-pollination with a different plant in the same species if seed and fruit are to be produced[182]. The flowers are sweetly perfumed[245]. The leaves also have a sweet smell[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires stratification and is best sown in a cold frame in late winter, it can take 12 months to germinate[11]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a cold frame[78, 200]. Roots are formed in about 4 weeks. Good percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Symplocos microcalyx Shrub4.0 -  LMHNM101
Symplocos paniculataAsiatic Sweetleaf, Sapphire-berryShrub4.0 4-8  LMHNM122
Symplocos sumuntia Tree6.0 -  LMHNM212

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

(L.)L'Hér.

Botanical References

1143

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Symplocos tinctoria  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.