Zenobia pulverulenta
Common Name: dusty zenobia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Ericaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall


Best in acidic, moist, sandy or peaty, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in boggy soils. Established plants tolerate some dry soils. Best in part shade, but best fall color usually occurs in full sun. Best propagation comes from softwood cuttings in early summer, layering or division in early spring. May not come true from seed. Usually deciduous in USDA zones 6 and 7, but semi-evergreen south of zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Zenobia pulverulenta, commonly called dusty zenobia or honey-cup, is a glaucous, semi-evergreen to deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit. It typically grows very slowly to 3-10' tall. It is native to moist soils in sandy or peaty pine savannahs, shrub bogs, pond/swamp margins and natural depression ponds in the southeastern U.S. coastal plain from Virginia to Georgia (Flora of North America). Alternate, leathery, untoothed, wavy-edged, elliptic to oval leaves (to 3" long) are waxy smooth on both surfaces. Leaf color varies, but typically features a powdery gray to gray-green bloom, hence the common name of dusty zenobia. Leaves turn an attractive reddish-purple in fall. Bell-shaped, anise-scented, white flowers (to 1/2" wide) bloom in short axillary clusters (pendulous racemes) in May to June. Flowers resemble lily-of-the-valley in shape but are larger. Fruits are 5-valved capsules.

Pulverulenta is the only species in the genus Zenobia.

Genus name honors Zenobia, queen of Palmyra (present day Syria) from 267 to 272 A. D.

Specific epithet means powdered as with dust.


No serious insect or disease problems.


This multi-stemmed shrub features excellent blue-green foliage, fragrant white flowers, and attractive reddish-purple fall color.