The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Nine-Bark

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NINE-BARK, an American shrub (Opulasta opulifolius), of the rose family, common throughout the eastern part of the United States. It has an ungainly form, glabrous twigs, bright green, three-lobed, crenate-lentate leaves and small white or purplish flowers in terminal corymbs. Its bloom, remarks Mrs. Lounsberry, is not very pretty, but it redeems itself by the beauty of the ripening pods. “They, hanging in quantities at the ends of its long, curving branches, produce something the same effect as the fruit of a species of opulus or cranberry-tree. . . . The common name which would naturally recall one of the hydrangeas, is in reference to a trick of the bark in peeling not nine but many times into dilapidated-looking strips.” The hydrangea (q.v.) referred to is H. radiata, a showy wild shrub, which is given this name by the mountaineers of the Southern States on account of the ragged peeling of its bark. Both shrubs flourish in rocky and swampy places, and both are susceptible of cultivation. Consult Lounsberry, ‘Southern Wildflowers and Trees.’ (1901).