Virginia Willow
Virginia Sweetspire - Virginia Willow - Tassel White
Itea virginica
Iteaceae (Sweetspire) Family

The plant is a small shrub usually under six feet tall. Its preferred habitat is stream banks, swamps and rich woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate on the stem; deciduous; two to three inches long; widest at the middle to egg-shaped with minutely serrated margins.

Flowers are in compact clusters that are four to six inches long and more or less drooping; flowers are small, white and less than 1/4 inch long; bisexual; symmetrical. Calyx and stamens are five each. Flowers occur in the spring.

Fruit is a two-part, many-seeded capsule.

The most difficult part of plant identification is that occasionally very few references are made to the shrub in native plant manuals; most simply name it but provide no image on which the amateur can make a comparison. Perhaps its resemblance to the bottle-brush, the creamy colored Honey Mesquite or the Black Cherry, would create more confusion than is deserved. Nevertheless, it is worthy of mention and more attention.

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