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Plant Details

Dirca palustris

Leatherwood, Leatherbark, Wicopy, Wicopee, Rope-bark

Scientific Name:

Dirca palustris

Genus:

Dirca

Species Epithet:

palustris

Common Name:

Leatherwood, Leatherbark, Wicopy, Wicopee, Rope-bark

Plant Type

Shrub

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

3-6 ft., 6-12 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Yellow

Light:

Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Less than 2 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist

Bloom Time:

March, April

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont

Habitat Description:

Very rich forests, on slopes or bottomlands, limited to calcareous or mafic rocks such as limestone, calcareous siltstone, calcareous shale, gabbro, or amphibolite, in marl ravine bottoms in the Coastal Plain of VA, in Ashe County NC ascending to 1500 meters elevation. Rare in NC Mountains and Piedmont.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S3: Vulnerable (*Key)

Global Rank:

G4 - Apparently Secure (*Key)

State Status:

W1: Watch List: Rare but Relatively Secure (*Key)

Blooms

image

Tom Harville

Twig

Dirca has distinctively jointed, very flexible twigs that are a good identification mark, even in winter.

image

Paynter, early April 2012

Leaves in early spring

Leaves turn yellow in fall.

image

Bark

The common name of Leatherwood comes from the tough bark used by Native Americans for cordage.

image

Habitat

A rare shrub in NC, Leatherwood is found in very rich woods, restricted to calcareous or mafic rocks. Here it is growing at a high elevation along a mountain stream.

image

Flowers

The flowers hang in clusters of two or three.

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Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record

Duke Trees


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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