Eubotrys racemosa (L.) Nutt.
Wet pine flatwoods (WPF-T).
Occasional. Late Mar–early Jun; Sep–Oct . Thornhill 1291, 1471, 1511, 1546 (NCSC). Specimens seen in the vicinity: Sandy Run [Neck]: Wilbur 55259 (DUKE!; as Leucothoe racemosa ); Sandy Run [ O’Berry ]:Taggart SARU 93 (WNC!). [= Leucothoe racemosa (L.) A. Gray sensu RAB; = FNA, Weakley]
Regularity: Regularly occurring
southeastern United States from eastern Massachusetts to southern
Florida and west through the Gulf States to southeastern Texas [10,14].
Occurrence in North America
NY NC PA RI SC TN TX VA
Fetterbush is a small to large, widely branched, deciduous shrub [7,10].
It is prostrate to erect in form, reaching heights between 3 to 12 feet
(1.0 - 3.5 m). The leaves are short, thin, and smooth with the smaller
leaves occurring on the twig among the larger leaves. The short,
tubular flowers are borne in clusters at the end of the stems. The
fruit is a five-part capsule that persists over the winter [14,20].
Catalog Number: US 1810624
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald & B. H. Long
Year Collected: 1939
Locality: NE of Burgess Station., Dinwiddie, Virginia, United States, North America
- Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1939. Rhodora. 41: 553.
Fetterbush grows on a variety of sites in the coastal plains of the
southeastern United States but is restricted to climates with mild
winters and long, hot, humid summers. It grows best in shrub-tree bogs,
cypress (Taxodium spp.)-gum (Nyssa spp.) depressions, along marshy
streambanks, and forest edges [2,15]. It is an important shrub species
in pocosins [1,11].
Common overstory associates include swamp blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var.
biflora), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), sweetbay (Persea
borbonia), red maple (Acer rubrum), titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), and
southern white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides). Understory associates
include hurrahbush (Lyonia lucida), sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), and laurelleaf greenbrier (Smilax
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
More info for the terms: hardwood, swamp
70 Longleaf pine
75 Shortleaf pine
76 Shortleaf pine - oak
79 Virginia pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine
82 Loblolly pine - hardwood
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
84 Slash pine
87 Sweetgum - yellow-poplar
88 Live oak
89 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak
93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash
96 Overcup oak - water hickory
97 Atlantic white cedar
98 Pond pine
102 Baldcypress - tupelo
103 Water tupelo - swamp yupelo
104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay
This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):
FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
K090 Live oak - sea oats
K091 Cypress savanna
K100 Oak - hickory
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest
K113 Southern floodplain forest
Plant Response to Fire
Fetterbush will sprout from adventitious buds on the root following fire
Immediate Effect of Fire
survivor species; on-site survivng root crown or caudex
off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2
Fire does not usually invade the wetlands and lower slopes of the
floodplain because the soil and duff layers are usually very damp
[11,21]. Shallow burns favor fetterbush because of its ability to
sprout quickly after aboveground portions of the plant are killed
Fetterbush reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from adventitious buds
on the roots following disturbance . It also regenerates sexually,
although the details have not been described.
Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
More info for the term: phanerophyte
Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (microphanerophyte)
Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (nanophanerophyte)
Fetterbush is an early- to mid-seral species that is intolerant to shade
and grows best in full sunlight [3,15]. In a southern white cedar
forest in southeastern North Carolina, fetterbush was present in the
intial stages after disturbance, gradually reduced in the middle-age
forest, and disappeared in the mature forest .
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Eubotrys racemosa
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Eubotrys racemosa
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Eubotrys racemosa (syn. Leucothoe racemosa) is a species of flowering plant in the heath family known by the common names fetterbush, swamp doghobble, and swamp sweetbells. It is native to the southeastern United States, where its distribution extends along the coastal plain from Massachusetts to Florida to Texas.
This plant is a shrub growing up to 4 meters tall. The thin, smooth leaves have oval to widely lance-shaped blades with serrated margins. The leaves are 3 to 8 centimeters long, with small and larger leaves occurring together on a branch. The leaves are deciduous. The inflorescence is a row of bell-shaped white flowers each just under a centimeter long. The fruit is a capsule.
This shrub grows in coastal plain habitat among pines such as loblolly, slash, and shortleaf pines, and oak species. It occurs in several habitat types including savanna, forest, bog, and pocosin. The climate is mild in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. It is not tolerant of shade and is usually found in full sunlight. It can be found growing with swamp blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), sweetbay (Persea borbonia), red maple (Acer rubrum), titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), southern white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), hurrahbush (Lyonia lucida), sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), and laurelleaf greenbrier (Smilax laurifolia).
Names and Taxonomy
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