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sorrel tree

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noun
  1. a North American tree, Oxydendrum arboreum, of the heath family, having leaves with an acid flavor and drooping clusters of white flowers.

Origin of sorrel tree

An Americanism dating back to 1680–90
Also called sourwood.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sorrel tree

Historical Examples

  • They were the flowers of the sorrel-tree—the beautiful lyonia—the very sight of which sent a thrill of gladness through my heart.

    The Desert Home

    Mayne Reid


British Dictionary definitions for sorrel tree

sorrel tree

noun
  1. a deciduous ericaceous tree, Oxydendrum arboreum, of E North America, having deeply fissured bark, sour-tasting leaves, and small white flowersAlso called: sourwood

Word Origin

C17: so called because the bitter flavour of the leaves is reminiscent of sorrel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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