30 SOourwood - Sorrel Tree Seeds - Oxydendrum Arboreum
This is a deciduous understory tree that is native to the eastern United States from Pennsylvania south to Florida and Louisiana.
In cultivation, it typically grows 20-25’ tall with a straight, slender trunk and narrow oblong crown. In the wild, it may reach 50-60’ tall. Gray bark on mature trees is fissured, ridged, and scaly.
Finely-toothed, glossy green leaves (to 5-8” long) are reminiscent of peach. Leaves have a sour taste, hence the common name. Leaves produce consistently excellent fall color, typically turning crimson red.
Waxy, lily-of-the-valley-like, white flowers bloom on slender, drooping, one-sided terminal panicles (4-8” long) in early summer. Flowers have a slight fragrance and are quite attractive to bees.
Sourwood honey is a highly prized local product. It is considered by many to be unmatched by clover, orange blossom, fireweed, or any other honey.
Zone: 5 to 9
Medicinal use: The leaves are cardiac, diuretic, refrigerant, and tonic. A tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhea, indigestion and to check excessive menstrual bleeding.
It is diuretic and is a folk remedy for treating fevers, kidney, and bladder ailments. The bark has been chewed in the treatment of mouth ulcers.
Edible parts: Leaves - raw. A pleasant acid flavor. They allay thirst.
Other uses: Wood - heavy, hard, attractive, very close-grained. It weighs 46 lb per cubic foot and is sometimes used for paneling, tool handles, bearings, etc.