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Old pastures, rocky slopes, wet sterile soils, sand barrens; often in part shade. In sand barrens it seems to be found in a zone just above the water table.
Canada south to MI, New England (some authors exclude it from southwest MI); in mountains to GA.
Small upright, evergreen shrub, to 3' high. Leaves opposite or whorled, simple, entire, oblong to elliptic, to 2.5" long and .75" wide, obtuse to subacute; petiole to 1/3" long. Stem rounded, glabrous. Flowers rose-pink to magenta, .5" wide in up to 2" diameter coryms. New growth above the flowers.
Flowers June to July
Wetland indicator: Facultative
Also called Lambkill because the foliage is poisonous if eaten in quantity. There are white and pink flowered cultivars of the species. Hardy from zone 1 to 6.
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.
Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
Michael Hough © 2005