Itea virginica L.
  • FAMILY: ITEACEAE (alternatively included in Grossulariaceae)
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: Virginia sweetspire, tassel-white
  • LEAVES: alternative, simple, tardily deciduous, blades variable in shape from elliptic to oblanceolate, margins minutely serrate; veins arcuate
  • FLOWER: perfect (bisexual), white, 1/4", bell-shaped; inflorescence a terminal raceme 1.5-4” long, often arching; flowers diverging at right angles, racemes thus appear bottlebrush-like; flowering in spring (April)
  • FRUIT: small, dry, persistent capsules
  • TWIGS: green, pith chambered; 3 bundle-scars (monkey- face)
  • FORM: small colonial shrub to ca. 6’ tall
  • HABITAT: cypress-tupelo swamps, small stream bottoms, bayhead swamps, gum ponds, wet swales in bottomland hardwoods
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Wetland (FACW): Usually occurs in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: Pennsylvania south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas  [MAP]
  • USES: erosion control, ornamental
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. low colonial shrub of wet sites
    2. twigs green, with chambered pith
    3. leaf margins finely serrate, veins arcuate
    4. small white flowers in bottlebrush-like racemes in early spring
    5. persistent capsules

    NOTE: other genera with arcuate veination are Cornus (flowering and roughleaf dogwood) and Frangula (Carolina buckthorn)