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Dirca palustris

Dirca palustris L.

 

Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalvalesIncludes cacao, balsa, lime, linden, basswood, daphnes, hibiscus, hollyhocks, okra, baobab, cotton, kapok, and many others
FamilyThymelaeaceaeTrees and perennial shrubs with fibrous bark, mostly tropical, mostly African
GenusDircaFrom Greek dirke, “a fountain,” specifically a fountain northwest of Thebes in Boeotia, referring to its moist habitat
Speciespalustris“Growing in marshes”

About plant names...

Eastern leatherwood is native to the eastern United States. It prefers rich, moist deciduous woods.

Plants: Deciduous, 3-6' (91-182 cm) tall, with a single or few trunks and a branching pattern that looks a little like a candleabrum. Branches are extremely flexible, and difficult to break.

Leaves: Alternate, oval to elliptic, with very short leaf stalks (petioles), 1¾-3" (5-8 cm) × ⅞-2½" (2.5-7 cm). They are hairy when young, hairless when mature. Leaves are yellow in the fall.

Flowers: Flowers are yellow, shaped like narrow bells, hanging in small clusters. Flowers emerge from leaf axils or branch tips. 8 orange-tipped stamens hang well below each flower, along with a longer style. Flowers appear from March to April.

Fruits: A drupe that changes from pale green to red or purplish-red. They are oval-shaped, up to ½" (1.3 cm) long.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Leaves and branches contain calcium oxalate, a poison and possible skin irritant.

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

Branches of leatherwood (Dirca palustris), with flowers, fruit and leaves.

Online References:

Dirca palustris on www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org

Dirca palustris on Missouriplants.com

Dirca palustris at the North Carolina Native Plant Society

Dirca palustris on www.carolinanature.com

Dirca palustris on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Dirca palustris at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 14 × 21" (34 × 52 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

7/28/2017 · Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 3" (12 × 8.4 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

8/30/2016 · MA

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

7/17/2017 · MA

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

7/28/2017 · Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10 cm)

Dirca palustris description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 2 Aug 2017.

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Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

4/29/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.4 × 10 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

4/29/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 4" (10 × 10 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 14 × 21" (34 × 52 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

7/28/2017 · Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 4½ × 4" (11 × 10 cm)

Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood, Leatherwood)

7/28/2017 · Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Range:

About this map...