Eastern leatherwood is native to the eastern United States. It prefers rich, moist deciduous woods.
Plants: Deciduous, 3-6' (91-182 cm) tall, with a single or
few trunks and a branching pattern that looks a little like a candleabrum. Branches are extremely
flexible, and difficult to break.
Leaves: Alternate, oval to elliptic, with very short leaf stalks (petioles),
1¾-3" (5-8 cm) × ⅞-2½" (2.5-7 cm). They are hairy when young, hairless when mature. Leaves
are yellow in the fall.
Flowers: Flowers are yellow, shaped like narrow bells,
hanging in small clusters. Flowers emerge from leaf axils or branch tips. 8 orange-tipped
stamens hang well below each flower, along with a longer style.
Flowers appear from March to April.
Fruits: A drupe that changes from pale green to red or purplish-red.
They are oval-shaped, up to ½" (1.3 cm) long.
Edibility: Poisonous Leaves and branches contain calcium
oxalate, a poison and possible skin irritant.
Branches of leatherwood (Dirca palustris), with flowers, fruit and leaves.