Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

CHAMAEDAPHNE calyculata

Image of Chamaedaphne calyculata

Jesse Saylor

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

CHAMAEDAPHNE calyculata

Plant Common Name

Leatherleaf

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Leatherleaf is often the first woody shrub to colonize a bog once sphagnum peat is established. A broadleaf evergreen native to continents around the North Pole, it grows in cool wetlands, bogs and on pond edges in thickets. It spreads by underground swollen stems called rhizomes. In North America it's found across all of Canada and Alaska southward into the northern United States.

The foliage is leathery and tough and often is held upward on the many twiggy branches. The upper leaf side is glossy emerald green while its underside is scaled and light gray-green. In late spring or early summer, clusters of small white urn-shaped flowers occur on twig tips. The size of the leaves within the flowering zone on the salmon-sienna twig are much smaller. The blooms are followed by small round mauve-burgundy capsules that will split open to release many seeds. The capsules persist on the twigs, revealing their five-chambered openings.

Grow leatherleaf in full to partial sun in moist to wet acidic soils that are porous and rich in organic matter. It is ideal for bog gardens and containers filled with wet peat alongside pitcher plants and cranberries. Moist pockes in meadows and shrub borders also receive this shrub well. Selection 'Verdant' has especially nice foliage, particularly in winter, in comparison to the species.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, North-Central United States, Northwestern United States, Canada, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Russia/Siberia, Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown, Sienna

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray

  • Bark Color

    Sienna, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Container

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No