Plant Details

Oxydendrum arboreum

Sourwood, Sorrel-tree

Scientific Name:

Oxydendrum arboreum

Common Name:

Sourwood, Sorrel-tree

Plant Family

Ericaceae (Heath Family)


NC Native



Size in Feet:

up to 25


Full-Sun / Shade

Soil Moisture:

Sub-Xeric / Xeric(*)

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


"This is an all-season ornamental with few disease or insect problems. Flowering and fall color are maximized in the sun. Sensitive to pollution, soil compaction, and root disturbance, sourwood is not for urban areas." Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. "The bark is dark grayish-brown and fairly deeply furrowed; the tree nearly always has a characteristic lean (toward a former canopy light-gap). The finely serrate, elliptic leaves are distinctive, with the sour taste of garden sorrel..." Weakley 2015

Large Blooming Tree


Young Blooming Tree


Black Mountain
© MB Baumeister

Blooming Branches


Black Mountain
© MB Baumeister

Closeup of Blooms


Black Mountain
© MB Baumeister


USDA PLANTS Database Record

"Mesic to xeric deciduous forests, especially dry-mesic to xeric oak-hickory and oak-pine forests, also in the fall line sandhills in sandhill/pocosin ecotones; common...It is an especially characteristic understory tree of upland forests of the Piedmont and lower Mountains." Weakley 2015. Common throughout NC.
Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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