Dirca palustris – Ropebark – Wicopy – Leatherwood –

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Dirca – Leatherwood –

There are 2 species of deciduous shrubs, in this genus. They occur in woodland in Eastern North America and on wet slopes in evergreen forest on rocky hills in California. The oval to obovate or broadly elliptic leaves are simple, smooth edged, and alternate. They are grown for their early Daphne-like flowers, carried on bare branches, in axillary cluster of 2 or 3 in early spring. The fruit, which is a small red or greenish drupe with 4 segments. Grow in a sheltered shrub border. All parts of the plant are poisonous, fruit has a narcotic effect.

Grow in moist but well drained, humus rich soil in partial shade to full sun.

D. palustris – Ropebark – Wicopy – This slow growing, upright deciduous shrub from eastern North America grows 6′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide. It has fibrous gray, tough and leathery bark and very flexible shoots (which may literally be tied in knots), carry oval to obovate leaves, to 3″ long, mid green above, blue green beneath, often clear tawny yellow in autumn. Insignificant but abundant, narrowly funnel shaped, pale yellow flowers, ½” long, are carried in clusters of 3 in early spring on bare branches. The fruit is a green to red oval shaped drupe, about 1/4″ long, containing a single seed.

Zones 4-9