Tree Sorrel, Or Properly Sorrel Tree, a North American tree of the heath family (ericaceoe), formerly known as Andromeda arborea; when later botanists subdivided Linnseus's genus Andromeda, this was placed by itself in a new genus, oxydendrum (Gr. όξύς, sour, and δένδρον, a tree), a name which recognizes the marked acid character of the foliage; it is also known as sour-wood. The only species, 0. arooreum, is found from Ohio and Pennsylvania southward, especially along the mountains, where it is met with as a large shrub, or in favorable locations it forms a tree 40 or even 60 ft. high. Its leaves are deciduous, serrulate on the margins, with slender petioles, and being pointed at each end they have much the appearance of those of the peach. The flowers, which appear in June and July, and even later, are in long one-sided racemes which are clustered at the ends of the branches; the corolla is ovate with five teeth, white, and in size and arrangement upon the stem bear some resemblance to those of the lily of the valley; after the flowers fall the small pyramidal pods remain white for a long time, and at a little distance appear like flowers.

The wood of the tree is of little value; the leaves are pleasantly sour, and are chewed by hunters to allay thirst. The tree is hardy north of its natural localities, and endures the climate of Boston. As an ornamental tree it possesses many merits, not the least of which is that of flowering when only a few feet high; when it is 10 or 15 ft. high it forms a spreading head, to which its fine spray gives a very light appearance, and when covered with its abundant clusters of delicate white flowers, it is a truly beautiful object; in autumn the foliage takes on a pleasing dark crimson color.

Sorrel Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum).

Sorrel Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum).