Friday, April 17, 2015

Flower Friday: Fetterbush is unfettered when it comes to blooms!

Fetterbush blooms (Photo by Stacey Matrazzo)
Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida)

Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms. Flowers are urn- or bell-shaped, vary in color from whitish-pink to pink to red, and held by 5 light green sepals. Leaves are small, oval to elliptic in shape, with a shiny green upper surface and a conspicuous midrib and margin. They are alternately arranged and are often spotted. Fruits are brown ovoid- to urn-shaped capsules that appear in summer.

Fetterbush flowers late winter through spring. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.


Pictured above left: Leaves showing spots and conspicuous midribs and margins.
Above right: Fetterbush capsule. (Photos by Stacey Matrazzo)
Family: Ericaceae (Heath family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida (vouchered in all counties except Suwanee and Monroe)

Hardiness: Zones 7-10
Soil: Well-drained, acidic soil
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 3–10 feet tall with 2-4 foot spread
Garden tips: Fetterbush spreads by underground stems and forms colonies. It requires little care and is easy to maintain once established. It makes a nice hedge plant and also works well in naturalistic landscapes.

Fetterbush is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit plantrealflorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where fetterbush occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3646.

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