Botanical Name: Lyonia lucida

Common Name: Fetterbush, Shiny Lyonia, Staggerbush, Shinyleaf

Description: This is a gorgeous small shrub that is yet another amazing Florida native that you need in your garden.

The Fetterbush is a woody evergreen shrub that can be found growing in dry uplands as well as edges of wooded wetlands. Fetterbush has a large underground root mass which enables it to resprout quickly following fire. Blooms fragrant, beautiful bell-shaped pinky/red/white flowers in winter and spring, and are important flowers for pollinators. Attracts bees including Apidae, Bombus impatiens, and Halictidae, Lasioglossum placidensis. Typically grows 5-8′ tall and wide, but very old specimens can grow to 12′. Grows at a moderate rate of 13-24″ per year. Likes moist to dry acidic, sandy soil habitats including pinelands, savannas, and swamps; it prefers moist places but will take to drier soils. Will grow in sun, part sun, or part shade. Works great as a hedge, but please leave it to its beautiful natural shape. Fetterbush’s bright green foliage has a fresh appearance that is accented by its many bell-shaped blooms that vary in color from plant to plant. Use in masses or mixed with other shrubs and grasses from a flatwoods ecosystem for a naturalistic landscape. The plant can also be used in masses next to a swamp edge. It can be temporarily inundated (rain gardens) or tolerate short drought periods once established. Fruits are approximately 1/3-inch-long capsules that dry to brown and split open to release the seeds at maturity and are eaten by birds and small mammals.

It plays important roles in the life of the Florida black bear, providing both food and shelter. It’s also important to white-tailed deer, bobcat, marsh rabbit, eastern gray squirrel, alligator, pine barrens tree frog, and the red cocaded woodpecker.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.

Plant Lore: It has been documented that Seminole Indians used the wood of fetterbush to make bowls for their tobacco pipes. Its common descriptor “shiny” and its species epithet lucida refer to the shiny or bright leaf surface. The species epithet lucida is from the Latin lucidus, meaning “shining.”

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-4′ tall.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 10 / East Gulf Coastal Plains Ecoregion

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