The sourwood tree, also known as the sorrel tree, is native to eastern North America and primarily is found in the lower Appalachian region.  It can grow as a small tree or large shrub from 10 to 20 meters (30-65 feet) tall.  In the spring it produces bell-shaped flowers on long panicles, and in the autumn, the flowers become seedpods that remain through much of the winter.  Autumn foliage is a spectacular red.

Traditionally, the Cherokee and Catawba tribes used sourwood shoots to make arrow shafts.  Jelly can be made from the blossoms, and sourwood honey is an American Southern delicacy.

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A popular old-time Appalachian tune, “Sourwood Mountain,” takes its name from the sourwood tree.  Lyrics vary according to the performer.

Sourwood Mountain

Chickens a-crowin' on Sourwood Mountain,
  Hey, ho, diddle-um day.
So many pretty girls I can't count 'em,
  Hey ho, diddle-um day.

My true love's a blue-eyed daisy,
She won't come and I'm too lazy.

Big dog bark and little one bite you,
Big girl court and little one spite you.

My true love's a blue-eyed daisy,
If I don't get her, I'll go crazy.

My true love lives at the head of the holler,
She won't come and I won't foller.

My true love lives over the river,
A few more jumps and I'll be with her.

Ducks in the pond, geese in the ocean,
Devil's in the women if they take a notion.
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6 thoughts on “Now on display in my corner of North Georgia: Sourwood

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