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Dirca palustris L.


Modern name

Dirca palustris L.

A deciduous shrub 3 to 6 ft high, with flexible, jointed branches, and very tough, glabrous bark; buds downy. Leaves alternate, oval or obovate; 112 to 3 in. long, about half as wide; tapered at both ends, not toothed, glabrous and pale green above, somewhat glaucous beneath; stalk 18 in. or less long. Flowers appearing in March at the joints of the naked wood, usually three together on very short stalks. Perianth-tube 13 in. long, narrowly funnel-shaped, faintly lobed, pale yellow; stamens eight, protruded. Fruit a pale, oval drupe, 13 in. long, rarely seen in Britain.

Native of eastern N. America; introduced in 1750. This is not a showy plant, and its yellow flowers are often injured by spring frost, but it is an interesting one. It is moisture-loving, and likes a deep soil to which some peat is added. A specimen in the Cambridge Botanic Garden attained a diameter of 9 ft. The remarkable toughness and flexibility of the shoots have been taken advantage of in several ways. In early times the American Indians used the bark for making ropes, and the twigs are still used in rural districts as tying material and for basket-making.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]