leatherleaf

(Chamaedaphne calyculata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

leatherleaf

 

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

Nativity

Native

      Photo by Luciearl
Occurrence

Common and abundant

Habitat

Wet. Bogs, marshes, swamps, floodplains, riverbanks, and lakeshores. Full sun.

Flowering

Early May to mid-June

 
Flower Color

White

 
Height

8 to 60

 
 
Identification

Leatherleaf is common and abundant shrub of northern wetlands. It occurs throughout northern Europe and Asia and northern North America. In the United States it occurs from Maine to Minnesota, south to New Jersey and Illinois, with disjunct populations in North Carolina and Washington State. In Minnesota it occurs in the north-central and northeast regions south to the Metro region. It is found in open areas in bogs, marshes, swamps, and floodplains, and on riverbanks and lakeshores. It grows under full sun in acidic, nutrient-poor soils. It is the dominant shrub of dwarf shrub wetland communities.

Leatherleaf is a perennial, evergreen, dwarf shrub that rises on several stems from an underground horizontal stem (rhizome). It can be 8 to 60 tall but is usually no more than 40 in height. It often forms dense thickets.

The stems may be erect, curving up from the base (ascending), or nearly horizontal (spreading). They have many stiff, wiry branches.

First year twigs are brown and are covered with minute hairs and scattered scales. In the second year they turn gray and eventually brown or purplish-brown. The mass of spongy cells in the center of the stem (pith), best seen when the stem is sliced at an angle, is solid.

The leaves are alternate, leathery, evergreen, to 2 (15 to 50 mm) long, and to (10 to 15 mm) wide. They are on short, 116 to (1.5 to 3 mm) long leaf stalks (petioles). They often point upward from the stem. The largest mature leaves are 3 times as long as wide. The leaf blades are oval, sometimes with nearly parallel sides (oblong), sometimes widest in the middle and narrowing to both ends (elliptic), rarely widest beyond the middle (obovate). They are wedge shaped at the base, taper to a broad or narrow point at the tip, and have a short, abrupt point at the tip (mucronate). The upper surface is dark olive-green, dull, and hairless, and is sparsely covered with scales. The lower surface is pale green and densely covered with white or rust-colored scales. The margins are slightly rolled under and have minute, rounded teeth.

The inflorescence is a leafy, 1½ to 4¾ (4 to 12 cm) long, unbranched, one-sided (secund) cluster (raceme) of 8 to 20 small flowers at the end of the stem and branches. The leaves within the raceme are similar to branch leaves but much smaller.

The flowers are urn-shaped and 316 to ¼ (5 to 7 mm) long. They have both male and female parts (bisexual). Each flower hangs downward singly from a leaf axil on a 132 to (1 to 3 mm) long, densely hairy stalk (pedicel). There are 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, 10 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are broadly triangular, 116to (1.5 to 3 mm) long, and scaly. The petals are fused for most of their length then separated into 5 short lobes. The lobes are 132 to 116 (1 to 2 mm) long and curved backward. The stamens do not extend beyond the corolla. The style sometimes extends slightly beyond the corolla.

The fruit is a hairless, flattened globular, 5-chambered, to 3 16 (3 to 5 mm) in diameter capsule. It matures in the fall and remains on the plant through the winter. The sepals and the style persist with the capsule.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Ericaceae (Heath)

 

Subfamily:

Vaccinioideae

 

Tribe:

Gaultherieae

 
Synonyms

Andromeda calyculata

Cassandra calyculata

Cassandra calyculata var. angustifolia

Cassandra calyculata var. latifolia

Chamaedaphne calyculata var. angustifolia

Chamaedaphne calyculata var. latifolia

Chamaedaphne calyculata var. nana

 
Common
Names

cassandra

leatherleaf

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Ascending

Curving upward from the base.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Elliptic

Narrowly oval, broadest at the middle, narrower at both ends, with the ends being equal.

 

Mucronate

Tipped with a short, sharp, abrupt point.

 

Oblong

Two to four times longer than wide with nearly parallel sides.

 

Obovate

Inversely egg-shaped, with the attachment at the narrower end.

 

Pedicel

In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.

 

Petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

Pith

The spongy cells in the center of the stem.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Spreading

Extending nearly horizontal.

       
Visitor Photos
   
Share your photo of this plant.
 

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

       
Luciearl
       

Located in bog/wetland

  leatherleaf   leatherleaf
       
  leatherleaf   leatherleaf
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Family: Ericaceae
Bill Keim
 
  Family: Ericaceae  
 
About

Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
- Andromeda polifolia (Wild Rosemary)
- Chamaedaphne calyculata (Leatherleaf)
- Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen)
- Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)
- Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus)
- Kalmia angustifolia (Sheep Laurel)
- Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
- Kalmia polifolia (Swamp Laurel)
- Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipe)
- Rhododendron (rhododendron)
- Rhododendron groenlandicum (Labrador Tea)
- Rhododendron maximum (Great Rhododendron)
- Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinkster Flower)
- Vaccinium (blueberry)
- Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush Blueberry)
- Vaccinium corymbosum (Northern Highbush Blueberry)
- Vaccinium macrocarpon (American Cranberry)
- Vaccinium stamineum (Deerberry)
- Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Lingonberry)

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       
Share your video of this plant.
   

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

       
       
Other Videos
 
  chamaedaphne calyculata
Flowers
 
   
 
About

Aug 22, 2011

chamaedaphne calyculata

   
       
  Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) in full bloom at Glacial Park
DiscoverMCCD
 
   
 
About

Apr 22, 2020

Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) is in full bloom! This plant can be found in bogs, like the one in Glacial Park, and when in full bloom the bog takes on a cream hue. This is a state-threatened species and happens to be a dominant one in our bogs.

   
       
  Last snow and Bog Leatherleaf flowering
Mukhrino Field Station
 
   
 
About

Feb 5, 2018

The last snow come late in 2014 when leaves were already partly opened and the Bog Leatherleaf (C. calyculata) was flowering, on 30 May. You could see raised water lever due to snowmelt in early summer of Mukhrina river, and a piece of bog nearby the station's house. The snow was heavy and surprizing and inspired me to make a short movie :).

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this plant.
 
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

Luciearl
3/30/2020

Location: Cass County

Located in bog/wetland

leatherleaf


     
     
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
   
     

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 4/27/2020

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2020 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.