Andromeda arborea. Sorrel Tree.
Nat. Ord. — Ericaceae. Sex. Syst. — Decandria Monogynia.
Description. — Andromeda Arborea is a tree growing from forty to fifty feet high, with a trunk from ten to fifteen inches in diameter. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, serrate, petiolate, deciduous, from five to six inches long, and from one to two inches broad, villous when young, at length smooth, with a distinctly acid taste, and early in autumn they turn bright scarlet. The flowers are pedicellate, secund, spreading, at length reflexed ; panicles terminal, consisting of numerous spicate racemes. Calyx without bractlets. Corolla ovate-oblong, narrowed at the summit, five-toothed, pubescent externally. Filaments thickened ; anthers awnless, the cells long and pointed ; capsule pyramidal, pentangular; seeds ascending from the base, linear, with a loose coat taper-pointed at both ends ; bracts and bractlets minute, deciduous.
History. — This is a beautiful tree, growing in the valleys of the Alleghany mountains, from Pennsylvania to Florida, and bearing white flowers in July. The leaves are the parts used ; they have a very pleasant acid taste, and yield their properties to water.
Properties and Uses. — Sorrel Tree leaves are tonic, refrigerant and diuretic. A decoction of the leaves is a grateful refrigerant drink in fevers, and will also produce diuresis. Some species of the Andromeda are poisonous, as the A. Ovalifolia, A. Polifolia, A. Mariana, A. Nitida, and A. Angustifolia ; the powder upon the leaves and buds of the A. Speciosa, and A. Pulverulenta, is a powerful errhine.