The sourwood tree, also known as the sorrel tree, is native to eastern North America and primarily is found in the lower Appalachian region. It can grow as a small tree or large shrub from 10 to 20 meters (30-65 feet) tall. In the spring it produces bell-shaped flowers on long panicles, and in the autumn, the flowers become seedpods that remain through much of the winter. Autumn foliage is a spectacular red.
A popular old-time Appalachian tune, “Sourwood Mountain,” takes its name from the sourwood tree. Lyrics vary according to the performer.
Sourwood Mountain Chickens a-crowin' on Sourwood Mountain, Hey, ho, diddle-um day. So many pretty girls I can't count 'em, Hey ho, diddle-um day. My true love's a blue-eyed daisy, She won't come and I'm too lazy. Big dog bark and little one bite you, Big girl court and little one spite you. My true love's a blue-eyed daisy, If I don't get her, I'll go crazy. My true love lives at the head of the holler, She won't come and I won't foller. My true love lives over the river, A few more jumps and I'll be with her. Ducks in the pond, geese in the ocean, Devil's in the women if they take a notion.