Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Leucothoe axillaris (Lam.) D. Don
- Family: Heath (Ericaceae)
- Flowering: March-May
- Field Marks: This evergreen shrub differs from similar species in the heath family by its more
than 15 urn-shaped flowers borne in axillary racemes.
- Habitat: Banks, backwaters, and swamps of pineland streams, bayheads, deep ravines, wet
woodlands, floodplain forests, bogs, pocosins.
- Habit: Branched shrub with arching branchlets, up to 4 1/2 feet tall.
- Stems: Slender, arching, green at first, becoming brown, usually short-hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, leathery, ovate to elliptic to lanceolate, pointed at the tip,
tapering or rounded at the base, dark green on the upper surface, paler on the lower surface,
not toothed or fine-toothed, usually short-hairy, at least on the lower surface, up to 5 inches long,
up to 2 inches wide; leaf stalks up to 1/2 inch long.
- Flowers: Usually more than 15 in axillary racemes, the racemes up to 3 inches long; axis of
racemes hairy; flowers urn-shaped, on hairy stalks up to 1/4 inch long.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below, about 1/10 inch long.
- Petals: 5, white, united to form an urn, 1/4-1/3 inch long.
- Stamens: 10, with anthers of the stamens with 4 short, pointed awns.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Spherical but flattened at one or both ends, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, dark brown with
light-colored markings; seeds numerous, light brown, shiny.
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