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| Sweetbells, Fetterbush, Leucothoe, Sweet-bells Leucothoe, White-osier, Pepper-bush|
Leucothoe racemosa (L. elongata)
Sweetbells is native to the sandy, acid soils of Southeast Texas, growing in swamps or water edges and other moist areas. Its range extends east to Florida and north to Massachusetts, in climates with mild winters and hot, humid summers. In its native habitat it usually grows in somewhat shaded areas, never in deep shade, but it will grow in sun with adequate moisture. From April through June sweetbells has racemes of delicate bell- or urn-shaped white flowers, arranged in a single row. It is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that forms colonies in the wild, making it useful for erosion control around waterways. In mass plantings, as a hedge, or as a speciman plant, it is striking for two or three months while the plants are in flower. The leaves are short, thin, bright green, and often turn red in the fall. Flowering occurs on the past season's growth, so sweetbells should be pruned only immediately after the flowers have fallen. The leaves are reportedly poisonous to livestock.
Plant Habit or Use: small shrub
Flower Color: white
Blooming Period: spring
Fruit Characteristics: five-part capsule
Height: 3 to 13 feet
Width: 3 to 13 feet
Plant Character: deciduous
Heat Tolerance: high
Soil Requirements: acid