Leatherwood is an interesting, under-used native shrub with small yellow flowers in early spring before leaves emerge. Light green leaves turn a bright yellow color in autumn. This plant may be difficult to find in nurseries.
This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
- Family (English) Mezereum
- Family (botanic) Thymelaeaceae
- Tree or plant type Shrub
- Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
- Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
- Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
- Tolerances Occasional flooding, Road salt, Wet sites
- Season of interest early spring, early fall, mid fall
- Flower color and fragrance Yellow
- Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Oval, Round
- Growth rate Slow