Advanced Search Filters

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

CYRILLA racemiflora

Image of Cyrilla racemiflora

James Burghardt

Family

Cyrillaceae

Botanical Name

CYRILLA racemiflora

Plant Common Name

Black Titi, He Huckleberry, Leatherwood, Swamp Titi

General Description

Fragrant white flowers and glossy green leaves make the swamp titi a worthwhile shrub for the garden, although rarely used. Native to the swamps of the southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida, it suckers from its roots to form broad thickets. A plant looks sprawling and spreading, with an open habit with bent and contorted branches. In mild winter areas it is mostly evergreen, but is fully deciduous where the winters provide subfreezing temperatures.

The long, tongue-like leaves emerge in spring, becoming a glossy medium to dark green. As the new leafy growth elongates from branch tips, the clusters of white flowers develop from the year-old wood. Numerous long, finger-like flower clusters form a whorl, looking like a mass of icicles in very late spring. The blooming season lasts up to a month. By late summer, the dried seed capsules ripen to a bronzy brown and dangle downward like ornaments. Fall or winter foliage color is orange and scarlet before dropping.

Grow swamp titi, also called leatherwood, in full sun to partial shade in a non-alkaline soil. It excels in moist, organic-rich soils with slow drainage, but will grow well in average, well-drained garden soils. Although the flowers are pretty, this wild-looking shrub is best used in informal settings, such as at the woodland's edge or incorporated into the rear of a mixed border. Cutting back swamp titi results in continued root suckers to rejuvenate the plant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Bronze, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No