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For var. nudum Atlantic coastal states from CT south to TX.
For var. cassinoides eastern Canada, New England west to MN and south in mountains to NC, GA, and AL.
Suckering shrub to 4 m. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, with a narrowly revolute or thickened margin, smooth and shiny to dull above. Cymes on short peduncles. Fruit a blue-black drupe, bitter to sweet.
Flowers May to July
Wetland indicator: Facultative Wetland (var. cassinoides), Obligate (var. nudum)
There are two recognized varieties of this species, var. nudum (possumhaw) and var. cassinoides (witherod). The latter is a more northern species than the former with a range that extends further west. Gleason and Cronquist point out that there is much overlap in the characteristics of these two varieties, which is probably why they are no longer treated as distinct species. I had to look up what a "withe" is; apparently a band or rope made from twisted twigs or stems.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY
Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
Michael Hough © 2005