Sourwood from Gloria in SC

These are growing among weeds on a hillside abutting my lawn. They are currently about a foot tall. I was drawn to these plants by their colors: reds and oranges. They are leaf colors I normally associate with the fall season, not the end of May.
Please identify them, Dr. Hill. Thank you.

Hi Gloria,

based on the image you sent, this appears to be some sprouts of a sourwood tree, Oxydendrum arboreum.  It could be from a stump that was cut.  The reddish color is quite characteristic when they grow in the sun.  To be sure, you can look at the vein on the bottom of the leaf – if it has bristles sticking up from the surface, pale bristles, that confirms sourwood.  If not, the only other likely possibility is black gum, Nyssa sylvatica, but the leaves look too narrow for that.  I hope this helps.



Steve Hill SCNPS

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