A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Full sun to light shade; medium moisture level; grows best in moderately coarse loamy sands, medium loams to moderately fine silt loams; slightly acid to neutral pH.
15-25 feet height by 15-25 feet spread; creamy white flowers in wide, flat-topped clusters in May; handsome bluish-purple fruit on red stems in summer.
Growth Rate: Slow initially and medium when established
Maintenance: Low maintenance. Infrequent disease and insect problems. Can suffer badly from powdery mildew in some years. Benefits from mulching the root zone.
Propagation: Seed germination codes C (60), F. Difficult by softwood cuttings which must go through a winter dormancy.
Native Region: Eastern half of the state
Graceful, tiered, small understory tree. Distinctive horizontal branching habit gives it a tiered appearance and hence its common name. Attractive flowers have a musky, sweet aroma. Best grown in acidic, organically rich, moist soil in part sun. Use as a specimen planting or in small groupings, also attractive in shrub borders, woodland gardens and naturalized areas. Fall foliage is a dull maroon color. Cultivars available.
Attracts birds and butterflies. Fruits are dry and bitter to humans but are gladly eaten by a variety birds and mammals that quickly strip fruit from the tree, including grouse, pheasants, wild turkeys, squirrels, and songbirds. Larval host for Spring Azure butterfly.