Lyonia ligustrina is a shrub to 4 m tall, usually much shorter; roots associated with highly specialized ascomycota ericoid mycorrhizae, (Allen1991).
Leaves alternate, to 7 cm long, widest above middle, tip pointed, margins minutely toothed.
Flowers white, vase-shaped, numerous, to 0.5 cm long; inflorescence umbrella-shaped, branched, at ends of stems; blooms June-July.
Fruit dry, rounded with pale stripes, 0. 4 cm, numerous, eventually splitting open along stripes to disperse seeds, persistent through winter, seeds wind dispersed.
Wetland status: FACW.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Understory shrub in undisturbed swamp forests, pond edges, oak forests, acid soil, pH 4-6. Tolerant of flooding, salt, drought, soil compaction. Moderately shade tolerant (Hightshoe 1988).