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Virginia-willow, Virginia sweetspire
Itea virginica

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also an accent shrub in wet areas.

Ecological Restoration Notes: An occasional element in freshwater swamps and mesic hammocks.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Medium slender woody shrub. Leaves 2-5 inches long. Temperate deciduous.

Dimensions: Typically 3-8 feet in height; to about 10 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Eastern and central United States west to Texas and south to Broward and Collier counties. Very rare in Broward County.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Swamps and mesic hammocks.

Soils: Wet to moist, poorly-drained to moderately well-drained organic soils.

Nutritional Requirements: High; requires rich organic soils for optimal growth.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Light shade to moderate shade, or sometimes full sun.

Flower Color: White or pale pink.

Flower Characteristics: Showy, in terminal spike-like racemes to 5 inches long.

Flowering Season: Spring.

Fruit: Inconspicuous capsule.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides some food and cover for wildlife.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

Comments: This uncommon shrub is very attractive when in flower. It is not a true willow.

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Itea virginica available from:

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