Itea virginica L. - Virginia Sweetspire


 

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Itea virginica - (image 1 of 5)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Grossulariaceae

Habitat

Swamps, wet woodlands, and along streams. Adapts well to drier soil under cultivation.

Associates

 

Distribution

Southern NJ to FL, west to MO, LA, and eastern TX.

Morphology

Woody shrub to 10', although usually smaller, wider than tall. Leaves alternate, simple, deciduous to evergreen, elliptic or obovate to oblong, acute to short acuminate, usually cuneate at the base, to 4" long and 1.25" wide, finely serrate, glabrous, short petiolate. Stems green to reddish-brown, splitting and becoming brown with age. Flowers perfect, white; sepals, petals, and stamens 5; slightly fragrant, in dense, terminal, upright racemes to 6" long, on previously year's growth.

Notes

Flowers May to June

Wetland indicator: Obligate, Facultative wetland+

The flowers are attractive and the leaves often turn a bright red-purple, making this a good landscape plant for moist to wet areas. The fragrance of the flowers isn't very strong and doesn't carry well. Hardy to zone 5 but needs yearly rejuvenation pruning to keep it tidy in northern climates due to tip dieback. In warmer area this plant is semi-evergreen to evergreen.

Reference

Dirr, Michael A. 1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
5th ed. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C.
 


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 Michael Hough 2005