Dirca palustris

Eastern Leatherwood

Categories: Shrubs

Leatherwood is a small deciduous shrub that typically grows 4-6' (infrequently to 9') tall. It is native to the forest understory of eastern North America, but is uncommon in most of its ran ge.

More About Dirca palustris

  • very hard to find native of Vermont
  • one of the very earliest of shrubs to bloom in spring
  • also called "shit-um" wood
  • very difficult transplant and move

Bell-shaped, pale lemon-yellow flowers (to 1/4" long) with long yellow stamens bloom in axillary clusters along the branches in early spring (March-April) before the leaves emerge.Twigs are extremely pliable. Native Americans used the twigs and bark for a number of purposes including making bow strings, baskets, fishing line and rope. Some people have allergic reactions to contact with the bark.


3-8 ft


1-4 ft

Hardiness Zone:


Dirca palustris Characteristics


  • Good for Naturalizing
  • Good for Shady Sites
  • Bog
  • Specimen
  • Native to Northeast

Critter Resistance

  • Rabbit Resistant
  • Deer Resistant


  • Shade Tolerant
  • Part Sun/Part Shade

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Slow

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Early Spring

Soil Moisture Needs

  • Moist

Fall Color

  • Yellow

Flower Color

  • Yellow


  • Upright
  • Spreading