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Lamar Alexander Parkway (US 321) Townsend, TN 37882

Sourwood

Also Known As: Sorrel Tree, Lily-of-the-Valley Tree, Sorrel Gum, Sour Gum,

Scientific Name: Oxydendrum arboreum

Trail Location: 34

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Sourwood - Townsend River Walk & Arboretum - Spring 2019
Plant Type:
Deciduous

Family:
Ericaceae (Heaths & Heathers)

USDA Hardiness Zones:
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

USDA Plant Id:
oxar

Height:
20 - 50
ft.
Spread:
20
ft.

Flower:
Showy

Bloom Information:
Long flowing flowers looking like Lily of the Valley.


Leaf Description:
The leaf has a sour taste hence the name of the tree. Leaves are about 5 - 8 inches in length and has an alternate leaf pattern. Simple leaves with a fine sawtooth edge.

Fall Leaf Color:
Striking Crimson Red

Wildlife Value
When in bloom it is very attractive to butterflies and especially bees.

The Sourwood is a native tree in East Tennessee.  The one that you are viewing at the arboretum was planted in 2017 and is quite small but should grow to 20 ft. or more with a canopy of about the same.! 

In East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains it is well known and held in high regard for the honey that is produced.  The honey has is light amber with a caramel spice flavor and finishes with a slight twang.

The tree grows well in acidic soil and makes a great companion tree to its cousins the Azalea and Rhododendron.