Wicopy, a popular name for Dirca palmtrw, a shrub of the mezereum family (thymelacece), peculiar to North America, growing in woods from New England to Georgia. Dirca (Gr. Aipkn, a fountain near Thebes, applied to this by Linnasus), of which there is but one species, is a much-branched shrub; its branches, starting from near the base, give it a rounded form; it is commonly from 2 to 6 ft. high, sometimes reaching 12 ft.; each joint or internode enlarges upward, giving the branches a striking appearance; the bark, which is yellowish gray, is very tough, while the wood is tender and brittle; the bast cells of the inner bark are among the longest known in woody tissue; they are from 1/8 to 1/6 in. long, while those of the wood are 1/100 in. The deciduous, alternate leaves are oval or obovate, 2 to 3 in. long, downy at first, but at length smooth, pale green, the bases of their short petioles concealing the buds of the next year. The apetalous flowers are in clusters of three or four, and precede the leaves, which soon appear from the same hairy bud; the petal-like calyx is pale yellow, about ½ in. long, with an irregularly toothed border; stamens eight, protruded, the alternate ones longer; the onecelled, one-ovuled ovary becoming a berry-like, oval, one-seeded, reddish drupe.

The plant blooms so profusely in April that it is often cultivated as an ornamental shrub. The most remarkable thing about it is the great toughness of its bark, on account of which it is useful for thongs, and is sometimes woven into baskets. Leatherwood and moosewood are other common names, but the latter properly belongs to a species of maple. The bark is said to produce vomiting when administered internally, and the berries, like those of the related daphne, to be poisonous.

Wicopy (Dirca palustris).

Wicopy (Dirca palustris).