With these characteristics: None
Ericaceae - Heath
Leaves: Alternate; simple; 1-1/2" to 4" long; deciduous; elliptic; glabrous and dark green above, slightly pubescent below; finely serrate or entire margin; petiole 1/2" to 1" long; turn bright red, yellow, or purple in fall.
Twigs/buds: Twigs slender; greenish to red; smooth or slightly hairy. No terminal bud; lateral buds small and conical to round.
Flowers/fruit: Flowers perfect; 1/4" long, white, showy, and fragrant; urn-shaped like other members of the Ericaceae family; arranged in large, drooping clusters; appear in June and July. Fruit a small capsule that splits open into five parts; stays on into the fall; droops at first but matures upright; at first greenish-white but maturing brown. Drooping, abundant flowers and fruit give the tree a lacy appearance.
Bark: Brownish or gray-brown; blocky on older trees; distinctive.
Wood: Little commerical value; heartwood brown to reddish-brown, sapwood paler; heavy, hard, diffuse-porous; used for tool handles, fuel, and pulp.
General: Native to the southeastern U.S. east of the Mississippi and from southern Ohio and Pennsylvania south; not Utah. Prefers moist sites and acid soils, but I have heard it does well in moderately high pH soils (below pH 7.5) in northern Utah. Moderately drought and salt tolerant. Naturally grows in the forest understory, so shade tolerant; full sun also is OK.
Landscape Use: This small- to medium-sized tree (25' to 30' tall) is very attractive when in flower or fruit or for autumn color. Not common in Utah, but I have heard of it being planted recently and doing well. Fairly insect- and disease-free. Avoid very tough, stressful sites. Zones 5-9.
Cultivars: 'Albomarginatum', 'Chameleon', 'Mt. Charm'.
- Ericaceae - Heath
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