Shrub to 4 m (12 ft) tall. Twigs glabrous, gray to brown. Bark peeling in papery strips on older stems. Leaves opposite, ovate to ovate-elliptic, acuminate, usually dentate, usually long-petioled, 5-8 cm (2-3 in) long and 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) wide, dark green glabrous above, gray-pubescent below. Inflorescence a conspicuous cluster of 5-9 flowers. Flowers 4-petaled, white, about 25 mm (1 in) across, blooming in Spring. Fruits small capsules with numerous small seeds.
Distribution: Texas to Missouri and eastward to Alabama and Tennessee.
Habitat: Wooded bluffs and river banks.
Comment: This and other species of Philadelphus are cultivated as ornamentals for their large white flowers. Philadelphus is named for Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-247 B. C.), King of Egypt; pubescens refers to the pubescent leaves.
NWI status: none
Distribution in Oklahoma:
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Last update: 9/15/99
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