Halesia Carolina or Carolina Silver Bell

Halesia carolina

Carolina Silver Bell

Styracaceae

halesia-carolina

The genus is named after a priest, S. Hales. It contains five species, four from North America and one from China. They are deciduous shrubs, occasionally small trees, with serrate leaves and axillary clusters of drooping flowers coloured white or pinkish. The fruit is a characteristically shaped, dry, four-winged drupe, with conspicuous lateral wings.

Carolina silver bell grows to a height of 10 m (33 ft) in its native land but only reaches about 5 m (16 ft) high in Europe. It was introduced to England from south-western North America in 1724. The flowers are borne from April to May on two-year-old shoots in clusters of three to five. They measure 1 to 1.5 cm (½ in), are snow-white, and somewhat resemble snowdrops, hence the various common names, such as snowdrop tree.

Propagation is by means of seeds which are sown in the autumn. If harvested late or if they have dried they may be stratified in spring and sown the following autumn. Carolina silver bell requires a fresh, humusy and deep garden soil and does best in a sunny location. Though it is a very attractive shrub or tree, halesia is not often seen in gardens. It is best planted as a solitary specimen with plenty of room to develop a nice, full shape.

01. May 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Ornamental Shrubs, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Halesia Carolina or Carolina Silver Bell

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