Ben is taking a well-deserved vacation this week ...

Ben is taking a well-deserved vacation this week ...

Ben is taking a well-deserved vacation this week, so we're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on July 26, 2020.

Oxydendrum arboreum, better known as the sourwood or sorrel tree, is the only species in its genus. It's native to eastern North America and is particularly common in the lower section of the Appalachians.

Of course, if you're a fan of honey, you're probably very familiar with the sourwood tree. When bees collect pollen and nectar from the blooms of the sourwood, they produce sourwood honey, which is widely regarded as one of the finest varieties of honey you can find.

Sourwood trees get their name from the acrid flavor of the leaves, although some people chew them to alleviate dry mouth. The leaves are also famous for turning a beautiful crimson color in the fall.

Sourwoods generally don't grow very tall, usually topping out at around 30-60 feet. However, there's a sourwood in Robbinsville, N.C. that measures 118 feet tall with a two-foot trunk! It currently holds the title of largest known sourwood.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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