IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This shrub is 5-15' tall, sending up multiple woody shoots from the base that branch upward and arch outward. The branches toward the center of each shrub tend to be straight.  Older shoots at the base of the shrub have gray wrinkled bark, while branches of the basal shoots have bark that is gray and more smooth. Twigs are pale brown to reddish brown, smooth, and hairless with scattered lenticels, while young stems are light green to green, angular or terete, and usually pubescent. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along the twigs and young stems. The leaves are 2-4" long and 1½-3½" across; they are cordate-ovate to nearly oval and coarsely dentate with 7-18 pairs of teeth along their margins. The upper leaf surface is yellowish green to dark green and glabrous to sparsely covered with short appressed hairs. The lower leaf surface is pale green with prominent veins and variably hairy. The typical variety of Southern Arrow-Wood has tufts of hair at the junctions of the lateral veins with the central vein on the lower surface of each leaf, while var. deamii has hairs distributed across the entire lower surface of each leaf. These hairs are short, white, slightly appressed, and either simple or stellate. The petioles are ¼-1" long, light green, and usually pubescent. At the petiole bases, there are no pairs of stipules. Flat-headed panicles of flowers about 2-4" across are produced from the tips of leafy stems or short spur-stems. The branching stalks of each panicle are light green to yellowish green and usually pubescent. Individual flowers are about ¼" across, consisting of a white corolla with 5 spreading lobes, a very short calyx with 5 teeth, 5 stamens, and a pistil with a single style. The stamens are strongly exerted from the corolla. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer for about 3 weeks. In each panicle, the flowers come into bloom at about the same time. The floral scent is malodorous. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by small drupes about ¼" across that are globoid to ovoid-globoid in shape and blue-black at maturity. Each drupe contains a single stone (seed with a hard coat) that is ovoid in shape, somewhat flattened, and grooved along one side. The woody root system is shallow and branching, sometimes producing underground runners that form clonal offsets.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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