Virginia Sweetspire

Itea virginica

Virginia Sweetspire Itea virginica is a native, stoloniferous, semi-evergreen shrub (3’ – 8’) with glossy-green leaves, white spires of fragrant spring blooms, and arching branches. It occurs across most of Louisiana on wet wooded streambanks, around lakes, and in swamps, low woods, and low pine barrens. Foliage turns yellow to orange or red in Fall and persists into Winter. Stems range from almost black to purple and browns.

It has a deep taproot and shallow fibrous roots that make it resilient and good for erosion control. Virginia Sweetspire grows best in full sun with access to water, but it is shade tolerant. It also grows fine in wet, clay soils. Winter seeds are eaten by birds. Its long tassels of white flowers and orange and red fall color make Virginia Sweetspire an attractive ornamental. Use it in the landscape as massed plantings for the best effect. It makes a good wetland ornamental.

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