Dirca palustris

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eastern leatherwood
Dirca palustris - Edwards.jpg
Dirca palustris [1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Dirca
Species: D. palustris
Binomial name
Dirca palustris

Dirca palustris, or eastern leatherwood, is a shrub that grows to a maximum height of about three meters. It is native to the eastern half of North America but uncommon, found in rich woods, and is occasionally cultivated. The species name, "palustris", means "of the swamps". It is often hard to recognize because the flowers, which come out just before leafing, last a very short time and D. palustris may be mixed in with the much more frequent Spicebush, which also has small yellow flowers that appear before the leaves and do so at just about the same time in the early spring. Its closest relative, the western leatherwood, lives across the continent in the San Francisco Bay Area.

D. palustris branches and leaves. Near North Fork Mountain, West Virginia, USA
D. palustris habit. Taxus canadensis (Canadian yew) to rear. Forested ravine in western Indiana, USA


  1. ^ From: The botanical register by Sydenham Teast Edwards and others. London, James Ridgeway, 1818, volume 4 (plate 292).

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