General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 20 to 50 feet (6-15m)
Plant Spread: 15 to 25 feet (4.6-7.6m)
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Fruiting Time: Fall
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Summer
Suitable Locations: Patio/Ornamental/Small Tree
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Salt tolerant
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Image
Common names
  • Sourwood
  • Sorrel tree
  • Lily of the Valley Tree

Photo Gallery
Location: Southern Pines, NC (Reservoir Park)
Date: July 25, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: Arnold Arboretum Boston
Date: 2021-08-02
Location: my garden in Dawsonville, GA (zone 7b north Geogia mountains)
Date: 2022-06-28
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Ray's Millpond)
Date: June 3, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: my Zone 7b garden in North Georgia Mountains
Date: 2023-06-18
Location: my Zone 7b garden in North Georgia Mountains
Date: 2023-02-10
Remnants of catkins hanging from a mature sourwood tree, still vi
Location: my garden in Dawsonville, GA
Date: 2021-11-09
Location: Lake James, NC
Date: 2020-07-12
This tree is easy to spot amongst the others!
Location: Southern Pines, NC Connecticut Avenue near Tremont road Horse country
Date: June 8, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: Southmont, NC
Date: 06/20/20
Sourwood honey is supposed to be some of the best! I love the blo
Location: Southern Pines, NC Connecticut Avenue near Tremont road Horse country
Date: June 8, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Ray's Millpond)
Date: June 3, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: Branchland, WV
Date: 2016-07-27
This Tiger Swallowtail was really enjoying the nectar!
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: October 21, 2019
My fairly old tree has finally "tapped in" and growing more quick
Location: Lake James, NC
Date: 2020-07-12
Large oval leaves
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Date: 2014-08-13
grown from seed
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2008-07-10
mature tree in bloom
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near Media
Date: 2010-06-23
maturing tree in bloom
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Date: 2017-11-18
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-10-21
tall narrow tree in fall color
Location: My garden in N E Pa.

Date: c. 1865
illustration by Bessa from Michaux's 'The North American Sylva',
Location: Lake Hope State Park, Vinton County, Ohio.
Date: May
credit: Jaknouse
Location: Branchland, WV
Date: 2016-07-27
Photo by robertduval14

photo by Derek Ramsey.
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: October 18, 2016
close-up of autumn color foliage and persistent floral structures
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: July 21, 2017
Close-up of flowers and floral structure components
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: July 21, 2017
Tree in full flower
Location: Media, Pennsylvania
Date: 2013-07-05
mature tree in yard
Location: near Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-08-17
young tree planted in hill
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near Media
Date: 2010-06-23
flower clusters
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2011-11-02
crown of tree in fall color
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-10-21
autumn leaves
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2008-10-20
red fall color and fruit
Location: English Gardens, Dearborn Heights, MI
Date: 2009-09-03
Location: near Seattle
Date: 2016-10-21
Location: Mississippi
Date: 2013-08-25
Location: Mississippi
Date: 2013-08-25
Location: Branchland, WV
Date: 2016-07-27
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: May 18, 2022
Sourwood #175; RAB page 808, 145-13-1; AG page 316, 58-8-1, "Name
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: October 18, 2016
Superb autumn color on 20 year old tree.
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: July 21, 2017
rough bark with lichens
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2007-11-19
the trunk
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near Media
Date: 2010-06-23
full-grown tree in bloom
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA
Date: 2013-07-05
flowers and foliage
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2008-10-20
beginning of fall color
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near Media
Date: 2010-10-28
full-grown tree in autumn color
Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near Media
Date: 2011-11-02
red autumn color
Location: English Gardens, Dearborn Heights, MI
Date: 2009-09-03
Location: English Gardens, Dearborn Heights, MI
Date: 2009-09-03
This plant is tagged in:
Image

Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 17, 2018 9:39 PM concerning plant:
    Sourwood grows in upland sites in or around forest from southwest Pennsylvania and southeast Ohio down to northwest Florida into Louisiana up into areas of Kentucky. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 150 to 200 years. It has thick, glossy, leathery leaves that turn a good red in autumn. The small, bell-like, slightly fragrant flowers are in curving spikes in July followed by tan capsules in late summer and fall. Its root system has some deep lateral roots so it is somewhat difficult to transplant and is best to move in early spring. It is expensive to buy so that it is used mostly by landscape designers in some professional landscapes, mostly in the South, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast; infrequently in some areas of the Midwest where the soil is definitely acid. It is a beautiful, high quality small to medium tree.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Dec 9, 2012 8:55 AM concerning plant:
    One of my favorite trees here because of its blazing red Autumn leaf color and beautiful flowers in the summertime. It grows best in acidic soil.
  • Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on May 3, 2012 2:19 PM concerning plant:
    Honey bees get nectar from this plant which produces a light amber honey.
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