Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Coastal Doghobble - Leucothoe axillaris   (Lamarck) D. Don
Members of Ericaceae:
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Section 6 » Order Ericales » Family Ericaceae
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Author(Lamarck) D. Don
DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain, though absent in a few northwestern counties. Barely ranges into the extreme southeastern and southern portions of the Piedmont. Specimens and reports from the Mountains and western Piedmont were originally determined as L. axillaris (infraspecific taxa lumped) or L. axillaris var. editorum, i.e., L. fontanesiana.

This species is closely tied to the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, from southeastern VA to central FL, and west to LA. A few scattered records for the Piedmont.
AbundanceCommon and reasonably widespread over most of the Coastal Plain, being least numerous in the far northwestern portion of the province. Found in almost all Coastal Plain counties except those west of Hertford and Bertie.
HabitatThis species is widespread in wet but acidic forests, such as blackwater swamps/bottomlands, bay forests, pocosins, and streamheads and seepages. It is scarce in brownwater bottomlands and other rich sites.
PhenologyBlooms from late March to May, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a low and quite colonial evergreen shrub, growing only to about 2-3 feet high. It is generally easily identified by its thick, dark green, elliptical to slightly lanceolate leaves, usually with numerous flowers, flower buds, or capsules present on most twigs at most times of the year. The very similar L. fontanesiana, which grows in the Mountains and foothills, has leaves that taper more narrowly toward the tip (and are thus distinctly lanceolate in shape).
Taxonomic CommentsUntil recently, most authorities consider this and L. fontanesiana as a single species. This taxon was thus usually named as Leucothoe axillaris var. axillaris.

Other Common Name(s)Coastal Leucothoe, Coast Leucothoe, Coastal Fetterbush. The names “Doghobble” and “Fetterbush” have often been used interchangeably for both the deciduous and the evergreen species of shrubs in the genus Leucothoe (and the split-off genus Eubotrys). This and some other references use “Doghobble” for the evergreen species and “Fetterbush” for the deciduous ones.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieFort Bragg, James Creek, swampy woods, 25 Apr 2010. HokePhoto_natural
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