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SPECIES:  Lyonia lucida
Fetterbush lyonia. Wikimedia Commons image By James Steakley.



SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Lyonia lucida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 3 August 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: fetterbush to: fetterbush lyonia. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION: LYOLUC SYNONYMS: Desmothamnus lucidus (Lam.) Small (documented in [32]) Lyonia nitida (Bartr.) Fern. [36] NRCS PLANT CODE: LYLU3 COMMON NAMES: fetterbush lyonia hurrahbush staggerbush TAXONOMY: The scientific name of fetterbush lyonia is Lyonia lucida (Lam.) K. Koch (Ericaceae). There are no infrataxa [9,14]. LIFE FORM: Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Fetterbush lyonia grows along the United States' southeastern Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia, throughout south-central peninsular Florida, west to Louisiana. It also grows in Cuba [9,14].
Distribution of fetterbush lyonia in the United States. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, August 3] [32].
   FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
   FRES41  Wet grasslands

     AL  FL  GA  LA  MS  NC  SC  VA


   K079  Palmetto prairie
   K080  Marl - everglades
   K089  Black belt
   K090  Live oak - sea oats
   K091  Cypress savanna
   K105  Mangrove
   K112  Southern mixed forest
   K113  Southern floodplain forest
   K114  Pocosin

    69  Sand pine
    73  Southern redcedar
    74  Cabbage palmetto
    81  Loblolly pine
    83  Longleaf pine - slash pine
    84  Slash pine
    85  Slash pine - hardwood
    98  Pond pine
   101  Baldcypress
   102  Baldcypress - tupelo
   103  Water tupelo - swamp tupelo
   104  Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay
   106  Mangrove


Fetterbush lyonia is a principal shrub in the understories of pocosins
[13,27,31], bayheads [23], and cypress (Taxodium spp.) heads [18,24]
(all synonyms of "evergreen shrub bog" [27]).  Other fetterbush lyonia sites
include conifer swamps, seasonally wet flatwoods and savannas,
cypress-gum (Nyssa spp.) ponds, depressions, and broadleaf seepage areas
[6,9,14,28].  It is a principal understory species in the Big Cypress
[7] and Okeefenokee [1] swamps, and one of the more abundant and
constant shrubs in saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens) prairie [35].
Occasionally, fetterbush lyonia grows on more xeric sites such as gallberry
(Ilex glabra) flatwoods and dry prairies [2,28].  Austin and others [2]
describe it as a scrub "indicator", although Godfrey [14] considers it
occasional in scrub communities.

Overstory associates include Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis
thyoides), various southern pines (Pinus spp.), sweet bay (Magnolia
virginiana), red bay (Persea borbonia), loblolly bay (Gordonia
lasianthus), cypress, and tupelo (Nyssa spp.) [9,27,28].  Understory
associates include gallberry, shrubby oaks (Quercus spp.), sweetbells
leucothoe (Leucothoe racemosa), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium
corymbosum), sweet pepperbush (Clethera alnifolia), titi (Cyrilla
racemiflora), laurelleaf greenbrier (Smilax laurifolia), and honeycup
(Zenobia pulveralenta) [9,16,27].


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: Because fetterbush lyonia is related to several other toxic plants in the Ericaceae family, Kingsbury [18] suspects that it may be toxic to livestock as well. Specific use of fetterbush lyonia by wildlife has not been reported although evergreen-shrub-bog habitats (see Site Characteristics) are important to a variety of southeastern wildlife species including the black bear, white-tailed deer, bobcat, marsh rabbit, eastern gray squirrel, eastern diamond-back rattlesnake, American alligator, pine barrens tree frog, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker [27]. PALATABILITY: Cattle find fetterbush lyonia unpalatable [30]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE: NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE: NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES: NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Because of fetterbush lyonia's sprouting response, clearcutting reduces cover but increases foliage biomass [6].


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Fetterbush lyonia is a slow-growing, common, showy, evergreen shrub. It varies in height from 8 inches (20 cm) to 13 feet (4 m). Large shrubs have robust, branchy bases with crowns that are as broad as the height of the plant. Leaves are simple, alternate, and leathery. They are borne on green twigs which are flecked with dark, loose, deciduous scales. The small, pink flowers are borne on fascicles. The fruit is a capsule containing amber-brown, wedge-shaped seeds. Fetterbush lyonia has extensive, interconnected rhizomes which sprout and form dense clonal thickets [3,9,14,21]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES: The primary mode of fetterbush lyonia regeneration is vegetative: Fetterbush lyonia sprouts from rhizomes. In nutrient-poor environments, it devotes its energy stores to vegetative growth instead of sexual reproduction and does not flower [31]. Information on seedling establishment and growth is lacking. SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Fetterbush lyonia occurs on sites where flooding is common [14]. Typically, these sites flood during the spring and dry out during the fall. Water tables fall well below the soil surface for the better part of the growing season. Seasonal flooding eliminates upland competitors, and summer desiccation eliminates more hydric competitors [14]. Fetterbush lyonia commonly grows on soils that are strongly to extremely acidic, poorly drained, peaty, and organic (Histisols) [19,27]. It may grow on the accumulated mats of peat and root fibers that collect around the bases of cypress trees in cypress swamps [24]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Fetterbush lyonia is a mid-seral species. It follows the establishment of deciduous shrubs after disturbance in southern swamps. [8,15,25,29]. Although an understory species, it does well in full sunlight [8] and is one of several shrubs that prospers in lightly or infrequently burned pine flatwoods [5]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Fetterbush lyonia has been reported to flower from April to June [9], from February to April [4], or beginning in January [29]. Leaf production begins in June and continues through September. Most leaves are lost in the November of their second year [31].


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Fetterbush lyonia survives fire by sprouting from rhizomes and dormant basal buds [3,16,20]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY: Small shrub, adventitious-bud root crown Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Most fires top-kill fetterbush lyonia [30]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Fetterbush lyonia responds to fire by sprouting from its rhizomes and rootstock [30]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Lyonia lucida
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Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374] 22. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496] 23. Monk, Carl D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 47: 649-654. [10802] 24. Monk, Carl D.; Brown, Timothy W. 1965. Ecological consideration of cypress heads in north-central Florida. American Midland Naturalist. 74: 126-140. [10848] 25. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477] 26. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 27. Richardson, Curtis J. 1983. 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