Sourwood is one of the first trees to turn colors in the eastern North American forest. By late August/early September it is common to see the foliage of young sourwood trees along roadsides beginning to turn red. Sourwood is well named as the leaf does have a sour taste.
The fall color of sourwood is a striking red and orange which is rivaled by only a few other trees such as blackgum, Chinese pistache, the pears, and Chinese tallowtree. There are few sights as striking as a patch of Sourwood in fall color. Sourwood honey is often available where the trees are plentiful.
Virginia Tech Dendrology Photo