Native from Virginia to Florida and to eastern South America and the West Indies. Beautiful flowering shrub or small tree, 1015 feet (sometimes 30 feet.) tall, spreading to 15 feet.; semievergreen in Middle and Lower South, evergreen elsewhere. Grows naturally at water edges and in damp, low-lying areas. Noted for its twisted, contorted branches. Narrow, glossy, dark green, 1- to 4 inches-long leaves; many of the leaves turn orange, rust, or red in fall. Blooms in early summer, bearing fragrant white flowers in dangling, 4- to 6 inches-long sprays. Tan seeds form in late summer and persist into winter. Needs moist, acid soil that is high in organic matter. Tolerates seasonal standing water. Plants sucker in wet soil and form large colonies. 'Graniteville' is a low-growing, spreading selection with smaller leaves.