Winter Shrub ID: Swamp Deciduous Dog-laurel

Swamp Deciduous Dog-laurel is a shrub with many names.  Other common names include Sweetbells, Leucothoë, Sweetbells Leucothoë, Swamp Dog-hobble and Fetter-bush.  Plant guides refer to this shrub by a scientific nameEubotrys racemosa (in some newer guides) or Leucothoë racemosa (in many older ones) or occasionally others.

Photo of Eubotrys racemosa

However you choose to refer to this plant, I think we can all agree that this wetland shrub has most attractive winter buds. The collections of flower buds on the ends of twigs foreshadow the racemes of white bell-shaped flowers to come. Although in the same family (Ericaceae) as many shrubs with choice edible fruit (including Blueberries, Huckleberries, and Cranberries), Swamp Deciduous Dog-laurel produces inedible five-parted dry capsules, which don't satisfy late-summer hunger but do aid in late-winter shrub identification.

Photo of Eubotrys racemosa

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