Buckwheat Tree – Cliftonia monophylla

 

 

Evergreen, thicket-forming shrub or small tree with short, often crooked trunk, many branches, and a narrow crown. Height: 20ft. Diameter: 6in.

Leaves: evergreen, 1-2” long, narrowly elliptical, thick and leathery. Shiny dark green above, paler and often whitish beneath.

Bark: dark red-brown or gray; scaly, becoming furrowed, thick, and spongy. Twigs: numerous, reddish-brown with grayish bloom, slender, stiff.

Flowers: ¼ in wide, with 5-8 white petals, sometimes pinkish-tinged; fragrant, in narrow clusters 1-2.5” long. Flowers in early spring.

Fruit: elliptical, shiny yellow, 2-4 winged, in showy clusters. Maturing in late summer, turning brown, remaining closed and often attached until spring.

Habitat: Wet, sandy, acid soils of bays and swamps.  Range: SE. Georgia and N. Florida west to SE Louisiana.