Dirca palustris L. - Leatherwood
Family - Thymelaeaceae
Stems - Woody shrub to 2m tall, freely branching. Twigs jointed, glabrous, expanding at nodes and buds, flexible. Each node typically with a small spur. Plants rarely found with stems over 6cm in diameter.
Leaves - Alternate, short-petiolate, deciduous. Petioles to +2mm long, pubescent, concealing next season buds. Blades to +8cm long, +6cm broad, elliptic to obovate, entire, lanose at anthesis, becoming glabrous with age.
Inflorescence - Typically 2-3 in a terminal cluster, appearing with the new leaves. Pedicels to 3mm long, glabrous.
Flowers - Floral tube 9-10mm long, greenish-yellow, glabrous. Stamens 8, exserted, adnate in the upper half of the corolla tube. Filaments to 3mm long, glabrous, brownish. Anthers orange, .6mm long. Ovary superior, green, ovoid, glabrous, 2.1mm long, 1.2mm i diameter, with a single ovule. Style glabrous, well exserted, 1cm long, white. Stigma small, purplish. Drupes green to purple, to 8mm long.
Flowering - March - April.
Habitat - Low wet woods, streambanks, rich wooded slopes.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - Dirca palustris can be found mainly in the Ozark region of Missouri but is also found in a few northern counties. This species is extremely slow growing and Steyermark states that a plant with a trunk 5cm in diameter may be over 100 years old.
Photographs taken in the Hercules Glade Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Taney County, MO., 4-8-01.