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Dirca palustris

The yellow early spring flowers and red fall fruit make this an attractive choice for a shaded shrub in a landscape. Leatherwood is one of the few native shrubs blooming abundantly in deep shade, due to its early leaf-out. It is a shrub indicating an old growth forest. The bark of Dirca palustris has been know to cause dermatitis.

USDA symbol: DIPA9

General Information

Plant TypeShrub
Height6 feet
Light ExposurePart Sun, Shade
Soil MoistureMedium
Bloom ColorYellow
Leatherwood (Leatherwood<div><em class="small">Dirca palustris</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience5
Salt ToleranceNone
Stress ToleranceAlkaline Conditions, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Medium

Bloom MonthsApril to May
Larval Host ofMoths
Specific Pollinators HostedLeucanthiza dircella
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar

Project Planning

Project TypeRain Garden, Restoration
Coefficient of Conservatism9
Herbivore SensitivityLow
Rate of SpreadMedium
Soil StabilizationShallow
Vegetative ReproductionAbsent


CountyAitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Douglas, Fillmore, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Koochiching, Lake, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Nicollet, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pine, Polk, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Stearns, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena, Washington, Winona, Wright
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands