Sourwood Tree Facts: Learn About The Care Of Sourwood Trees

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Are They?

The sourwood tree (Prunus spp.) is one of the most popular trees in many parts of the world. It grows naturally throughout North America from Canada to Mexico and even into South America. Its name comes from its woody stems which resemble the smell of sour milk or rotten eggs. The name “sour” refers to the fact that it smells like sour milk or rotten eggs. The tree’s leaves are also called “hairy.”

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Do They Look Like?

There are two types of sourwoods; red and white. Red ones have larger, darker red berries than white ones. White ones grow on longer branches with smaller, lighter red berries than red ones. Some varieties of the white variety may produce small black berries. Both types of trees bear their fruits in clusters at different times during the year. There are several kinds of fruit in each cluster, but they all taste similar.

Sourwood Tree Facts: How Many Types Of Fruit Are There?

There are over 50 kinds of sourwood fruit, some very large and others quite small. Most sourwood fruit is edible, though some may contain toxic substances such as cyanide or arsenic. The leaves and seeds of some sourwoods are also edible.

Sourwood Tree Facts: Where Is It Grown?

During the fall, you can find sourwood fruit growing throughout most of North America, though it is especially common in the southern states. It is one of the first trees to flower in the spring and its bright red flowers are easy to spot from long distances. They grow in large groups or “clusters” on separate trees. Sourwood trees are excellent for bees.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Do They Taste Like?

The sourwood fruit tastes similar to sweet cherries and is commonly used to make jams, jellies, syrups, wine and leathe. They can be eaten fresh or used in desserts. Some people even prepare them like tomatoes. In most places in the world sourwood fruit can only be found during the fall.

Sourwood Tree Facts: How Are They Used?

You can use sourwood flowers to make dyes for cloth and fur. Red berries can be used for birdseed or to make jelly. The wood of the sourwood tree is very light and soft. It is not often used to make, but it can be used to make small items like toys and ornaments. The bark has a sour taste to it and can be used to make a dye.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Are The Benefits?

The fruit of the sourwood tree is very high in vitamin C. You can use the small branches and leaves as fire starters because they catch easily and burn slowly. The roots of the sourwood tree are good for cleaning fish.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Do People Use It For?

The flowers, fruit and leaves of the sourwood tree are all edible. Native Americans used the sweet and sour fruit to make jellies and jams. They also dried the fruit for later use. The leaves and inner bark can be made into tea.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Is It Used For Today?

Sourwood flowers and leaves are popular in teas and herbal remedies. You can also use the wood to make furniture and crafts. The wood burns hot and makes excellent firewood. The wood is also sometimes used in making guitars because it is so light.

Sourwood Tree Facts: How Is It Used?

The leaves, bark and roots can be made into herbal remedies. The inner bark of the tree can be dried and ground into a powder that is used as a flour substitute in cooking. The flowers can be steeped in hot water to make tea. The berries can be used to make syrups, jams and jellies. You can dry them and use them to make sweet or savory dishes.

Sourwood Tree Facts: Where Does It Grow?

Sourwood trees are most commonly found in eastern United States, but they can also be found in other parts of North America, South America and Asia, mostly at higher altitudes. They grow best near the edges of forests in moist, fertile soil. They are sometimes cultivated as ornamental trees.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Is It Called?

Sourwood trees are also known as the Appalachian Lilac, Aralia, Mountain Lilac, Veni Mader, Vinegar Tree, Sweetshrub and Snowy Muffin.

Sourwood Tree Facts: What Do You Need To Know?

The leaves, bark and flowers of the sourwood tree can be made into herbal remedies.

Sources & references used in this article:

How fast and far might tree species migrate in the eastern United States due to climate change? by LR Iverson, MW Schwartz… – Global Ecology and …, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

Tree recruitment and growth on 20-year-old, unreclaimed surface mined lands in West Virginia by J Skousen, P Ziemkiewicz… – International Journal of …, 2006 – Taylor & Francis

Potential colonization of newly available tree-species habitat under climate change: an analysis for five eastern US species by LR Iverson, MW Schwartz, AM Prasad – Landscape Ecology, 2004 – Springer

Homeowner’s Guide to Gypsy Moth Management by E Grafton, RE Webb – 1990 – njintouch.state.nj.us

Seedling survival and growth of three forest tree species: the role of spatial heterogeneity by B Beckage, JS Clark – Ecology, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

Early reproduction after seed-tree harvest cuttings in Appalachian hardwoods by G Pinchot – 1893 – RR Donnelley & Sons Company

National-scale biomass estimators for United States tree species by GW Wendel, GR Trimble – 1968 – books.google.com

The urban forest: Comprehensive management by JC Jenkins, DC Chojnacky, LS Heath… – Forest science, 2003 – academic.oup.com

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