Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum Photo/Illustration: Micheal Dirr 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) oks-ih-DEN-drum ar-BOR-ee-um Genus: Oxydendrum Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. This plant (named for the sour taste of its leaves) forms a pyramidal tree to 30 feet tall, with canoe-shaped, glossy leaves that turn vivid maroon, yellow, or purple in autumn. In late summer, its delicate panicles of fragrant, urn-shaped flowers spray forward, decorating the tree in white. The blossoms, which resemble lily-of-the-valley, are followed by yellowish seed capsules that turn brown and persist into winter. It makes an outstanding specimen both for a prominent position and also for a naturalized setting. Noteworthy Characteristics: Glossy leaves with good fall color; fragrant flowers in late summer; decorative seed heads. U.S. native. Care: Grow in moist, well-drained, acidic soil in full sun or partial shade (blooms best in full sun). It prefers a reasonably protected site. Prune only to maintain a healthy framework. Propagation: Sow seed in a cold frame in autumn. In summer, take semi-ripe cuttings. Problems: Leaf spots. Overview Height Over 30 ft. Spread 15 ft. to 30 ft. Growth Habit Clumps Growth Pace Slow Grower Light Full Sun to Part Shade Moisture Medium Moisture Maintenance Low Characteristics Fragrant Flowers, Interesting Bark, Native, Showy Fall Foliage, Showy Flowers, Showy Foliage, Showy Seed Heads Bloom Time Late Summer Flower Color White Flower Uses Beds and Borders, Flowering Tree, Naturalizing, Specimen Plant/Focal Point, Waterside Style Meadow Garden, Woodland Garden Seasonal Interest Summer Interest Tolerance Frost Tolerant Type Trees Related Plants to Oxydendrum arboreum 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Bigleaf magnolia Magnolia macrophylla 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Magnolia Magnolia 'Butterflies' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Ashe magnolia Magnolia ashei 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Loebner magnolia Magnolia × loebneri View the discussion thread.