Native Plant Database

Header Photo: Mervin Wallace

Leatherwood

Dirca palustris
Plant Type: Shrubs
Native Environment: Forest
Season of Interest: Mid (May - June)
Main Color: Green
Fall Color: Yellow
Hardy From Zone:
Hardy To Zone:

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Hardiness Zones

Midwest map of zones 5 (north), 6, and 7 (south)

as defined by the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map; (hardiness zones are not recorded for all Grow Native! plants)
Sun Exposure 
Shade
Soil
Moisture
Moderate, High
Nature Attracting
Wildlife Benefit
Nesting, Food/Birds
Animal
Resistance
Size

Height:

4 to
7
feet

Spread:

3 to
7
feet
Size
Height: 4 to
7
feet
Spread: 3 to
7
feet
Size
Height: 4 to
7
feet
Spread: 3 to
7
feet
Typical Landscape Use
Extremely bendable stems were used to make rope and baskets and thongs by Native Americans.
Establishment and Care Instructions
Can grow in swamps,great on pond edges or wet areas. Rich, moist woods or any good garden soil in the shade will be great for leatherwood. Slow growing shrub,but very long lived.Nearly insect and disease free.
Special Features
Interesting Bark
Special Usage
Basic Description

Leatherwood is a woodland shrub grown horticulturally for hundreds of years as a collector’s plant. Palustris means ‘growing in a swamp.’ This plant is very adaptable to wet soils and woodland-type shade. Small yellow flowers are produced in March and April just before the leaves emerge. The fruit ripens in May and June. Birds love them, so they are gone quick! Leaves are shiny green and a little fuzzy underneath, and are held alternately on the greenish-yellow stems.

Where Should I Start?

Check out the Grow Native! Committee’s Top Ten picks of native plants for a particular purpose.

What’s the Next Step?

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Where Can I Find This Plant in Nature?

Learn about the Native Environment(s) inhabited by the plants in this database.

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