Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms from late winter through spring. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.
Fetterbush flowers are urceolate, vary in color from whitish-pink to pink to red, and are held by 5 light-green sepals. They are born in showy clusters and last for several weeks. Leaves are small, leathery and oval to elliptic in shape. They have a shiny green upper surface and a conspicuous midrib and margin. They are alternately arranged and are often spotted. Fruits are brown ovoid to urceolate capsules that appear in summer.
Family: Ericaceae (Heath family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida (vouchered in all counties except Suwanee and Monroe)
To see where natural populations of fetterbush have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 7-10
Soil: Well-drained, acidic soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 3-10’+ tall with 2-4’ spread
Garden tips: Fetterbush spreads by underground stems and forms colonies. It requires little care and is easy to maintain once established. It makes a nice hedge plant and also works well in naturalistic landscapes.
Fetterbush is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.