Friday, December 30, 2011

Lyonia

A genus of 35 species of trees and shrubs originating from the eastern U.S., Mexico plus also the Caribbean where many species are endangered with extinction. There are also a few species that are native to warm, low elevation woodlands in Asia from the Himalayas to Japan.
All species of Lyonia have simple leaves arranged alternatively along the stems.
They should be much more widely used in the landscape as both the foliage and the flowers are very attractive. The flower clusters on many species are similar to that of Lily-of-the-Valley. Pests and disease rarely occur on these plants so that the foliage remains attractive throughout the entire season.
Lyonia require partial shade and consistently moist, neutral to acidic soil.
Most species do not tolerate drought. Pruning is rarely needed but plants can be shaped during late spring or any other time ( do not shear...if ruins their attractive natural shape ).
Propagation can be achieved from sowing seeds during autumn, layering during spring or semi-ripe cuttings taken during summer. They are easy to transplant while small.

Lyonia ferruginea ( Tree Lyonia )
Also called Rusty Staggerbush. A twisted-trunked, upright, small evergreen tree, that is native to sandy pine-oak forests in the southeastern U.S. ( southern Georgia to South Carolina, south into Florida )
Some records include: largest on record - 45 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The pointed-elliptical leaves are up to 4 x 2 inches in size. The leathery foliage is glossy mid-green.
The small, white, urn-shaped flowers, up to 0.1 inches across, are borne from the leaf axils during mid spring.
They are followed by a light brown capsule, up to 0.5 inches in length.
The scaly, ridged bark is red-brown.
Hardy zones 6 to 9. It is very drought tolerant but does not tolerate salt.

Lyonia ligustrina ( Maleberry )
A deciduous, dense, large shrub, that is native to open woodlands and swamps in the eastern U.S. ( from eastern Oklahoma to western Tennessee to southern Ohio to western New York State to northern Maine; south to eastern Texas to central Florida ). It is endangered in New Hampshire and extinct in the wild in Ohio. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 2 feet; largest on record - 25 x 20 feet.
The finely-toothed, hard-textured leaves, up to 4.2 x 2 ( rarely over ) 3 inches in size. The foliage is bright green; turning to brilliant-red to purplish-red during autumn. The leaves resemble that of the Privet.
The small, creamy-white, urn-shaped flowers, are borne on dense, terminal panicles during mid-summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 in full sun to partial shade on acidic moist soil. It is generally found on swampy land in the wild. It thrives as far north as Ottawa in Canada however the alkaline soil in much of Ontario stunts it's growth.

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photos taken on Sep 16 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD


'Foliosa'
Leaves persist very late in fall.

Lyonia lucida ( Fetterbush )
A suckering, erect, dense, medium-sized, evergreen shrub, that is native to very moist pine woods and swamps in the southeastern U.S. ( on the coastal plain from Louisiana to Florida, north to southeastern Virginia ). It will grow much further north than its native range suggests but becomes deciduous north of zone 7.
Some records include: largest on record - 17 x 13 ( averaging 4 x 6 ) feet. It is a very beautiful and valuable landscape plant.
The rolled-margin, pointed, elliptical or obovate leaves, up to 4.2 x 2.2 ( rarely over 3.5 ) inches in size. The leathery foliage is glossy deep green.
The hanging, white to pinkish-white, bell-shaped flowers, up to 0.4 inches long, are borne on axilliary clusters towards the stem tips during late spring into early summer.
The stems are 3-angled unlike any other species of Lyonia making identification easy.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in partial shade on moist to wet, acidic soils. It is prone to leaf spot in some regions.

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC


'Rubra'
Flowers are dark pink, otherwise similar.

Lyonia mariana ( Piedmont Staggerbush )
A moderate growing, dense, erect, deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum size of 7 x 4 feet, that is native to the eastern U.S. ( on the coastal plain and Mississippi Valley from far southeast Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana to Florida, northwards to Rhode Island ). It is found in variable habitats in the wild, ranging from dry pine-oak woods to swamps. It makes an attractive landscape plant and is tidy in habit.
The ovate, elliptic or obovate leaves are up to 7 x 2 ( rarely over 3.5 ) inches in size. The leathery deep green foliage turns to red during autumn. The foliage looks similar to Vaccinium corymbosum but is larger.
The hanging, white or pinkish-white, bell-shaped flowers, up to 1 inch long, are borne during mid spring ( before the foliage emerges ).
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in partial shade on acidic, sandy loam.
Tolerant of wet conditions.

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* historic archive photo


Lyonia ovalifolia
A evergreen, small tree, reaching around 15 x 15 feet on average, that is native to mountainous areas from Pakistan to central & eastern China; south to India to Malaysia. Some records include: largest on record - 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. In colder climates, it may be deciduous.
The ovate to broadly-elliptic leaves are up to 8 x 5 ( rarely over 4 inches ) in size. The foliage is glossy bright green.
The abundant, showy, pure white, bell-shaped flowers are borne on clusters, up to 2.5 inches in length, during late spring to early summer.
The fibrous bark is pale brown.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 ( use seed source from Shaanxi in coldest areas ) in partial shade on moist, fertile, very acidic, well drained soil that is mulched.

var 'elliptica'
Also called Lyonia elliptica. Very similar except for having smaller leaves ( up to 4.3 x 2.4 inches ) and being native to Japan & Taiwan.

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