Lyonia ferruginea

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Lyonia ferruginea
Lyon ferr.jpg
Photo by Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Lyonia
Species: L. ferruginea
Binomial name
Lyonia ferruginea
(Walter) Nutt.
Lyon ferr dist.jpg
Natural range of Lyonia ferruginea from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Rusty staggerbush; Crooked-wood; Dragonwood[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Xolisma ferruginea (Walter) Heller.[1]

Varieties: none.[1]

The genus Lyonia is named for John Lyon, a 19th century botanist who is best known for his travels in southern Appalachians.[2] The species name is Latin for rust-colored, which refers to the rusty appearance on the abaxial side of the leaf.[3]


A description of Lyonia ferruginea is provided in The Flora of North America.


L. ferruginea ranges from southeastern South Carolina to southcentral peninsular Florida, and west to Panhandle Florida.[1]



Habitats of L. ferruginea in the coastal plain include coastal dunes, titi thickets, longleaf/saw palmetto flatwoods, shrub bogs, live oak scrub sand ridges, and xeric scrubs. It has been found to occur in disturbed areas such as roadsides and powerline corridors. Soil types include sandy loam, loamy sand, peat and white sand. Associated species include Cyrilla, Cliftonia, Rhododendron, Myrica, Lyonia lucida, L. fruticosa, Ilex glabra, Pinus clausa, Quercus chapmanii,, Q. myrtifolia, Ilex ambigua, Serenoa repens, Pinus elliottii, Ilex coriaca, Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus nigra, Q. incana, Gelsemium sempervirens, Smilax bona-nox, S. pumila, Pteridium aquilinum, and Aristida strict.[4]

In a study at the Okefenokee Swamp, Schlesinger and Chabot (1977) found L. ferruginea to be the dominate, evergreen shrub in pine forests surrounding the swamp. It was also observed that the rate of water uptake falls behind the transpiration loss at midday.


L. ferruginea flowers from February to May, and fruits from April to October.[1]

Fire ecology

L. ferruginea occurs in evergreen scrubs that experience a natural fire rotation. Populations occur in the scrubs of Cumberland Island located off the coast of Southern Georgia. These scrubs are pyric disclimaxes and have been found to have a natural fire rotation of 20 to 30 years that are related to coastal drought cycles and the occurrence of dry lightning.[5]


Lyonia ferruginea is considered to be a true host of the pest Stephanitis blatchleyi.[6] The following species were observed visiting flowers of Lyonia ferruginea at the Archbold Biological Station:[7]

Bees from the family Apidae: Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens

Plasterer bees from the family Colletidae: Colletes brimleyi, C. productus

Sweat bees from the family Halictidae: Agapostemon splendens, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis sumptuosa

Leafcutting bees from the family Megachilidae: Megachile xylocopoides

Thread-waisted wasps from the family Sphecidae: Oxybelus laetus fulvipes, Stictiella serrata, Tachysphex apicalis

Wasps from the family Vespidae: Stenodynerus lineatifrons

Diseases and parasites

Exobasidium ferrugineae is a closely associated disease with L. ferruginea that is characterized by causing hypertrophied flowers.[8]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

Schlesinger, W. H. and B. F. Chabot (1977). "The Use of Water and Minerals by Evergreen and Deciduous Shrubs in Okefenokee Swamp." Botanical Gazette 138(4): 490-497.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. [[1]] Treasure Coast Natives Accessed: February 9, 2016
  3. [[2]] Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Accessed: February 9, 2016
  4. Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Jame Amoroso, Loran C. Anderson, L. Baltzell, Tom Barnes, Linnie E. Beck, James R. Burkhalter, Andre F. Clewell, George R. Cooley, Steven P. Christman, Delzie Demaree, R.J. Eaton, Suellen Folensbee, Mark A. Garland, Angus Gholson, Robert K. Godfrey, D.W. Hall, Walter S. Judd, Robert Kral, H. Kurz, O. Lakela, Robert L. Lazor, Robert J. Lemaire, S.W. Leonard, Fred L. Lewton, Sidney McDaniel, Joseph Monachino, R.A. Norris, Kent D. Perkins, P.L. Redfearn Jr., Ann Redmond, Grady W. Reinert, Cecil R. Slaughter, Bian Tan, L.B. Trott, Kenneth A. Wilson, Carroll E. Wood, Jean Wooten. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, Highlands, Jefferson, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Marion, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Putnam, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  5. Sally, T. and S. P. Bratton (1987). "The Recent Fire History of Cumberland Island, Georgia." Castanea 52(4): 300-303.
  7. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  8. Kennedy, A. H., N. A. Goldberg, et al. (2012). "Exobasidium ferrugineae sp. nov., associated with hypertrophied flowers of Lyonia ferruginea in the southeastern USA." Mycotaxon 120: 451-460.