Sourwood leaves are light green and have fine teeth along the margins. The leaves have a distinct sour taste to them. In summer, the tiny, white, urn-shaped flowers are easy to see and the long, narrow fruit often persist on the tree during the winter. Fall color is a magnificent red.
Many people value the honey from bees that visit Sourwood trees. The tree often has natural curves to it so the wood is used for sled runners. The national champion Sourwood tree is found in the Great Smoky Mountains and is 96 feet tall and 8 feet, 8 inches in circumference.