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Halesia tetraptera

Common Name(s):
Carolina silverbell
var. rubra , var. magniflora
Native Plants, Shrubs, Trees

Halesia carolina, native the Southeast U.S., is a small understory tree with a broad, rounded crown or a large shrub. In the wild, Carolina silverbell typically does not exceed 35' in height (though specimens have been found in the 80-100' range), and is frequently shrubby in habit.  They have a similar culture to a dogwood, and are not tolerant of difficult sites.

Its bark is red-brown with white stripes, forming a rough diamond shape when young.  As the tree ages, ridges and furrows develope.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:  Fall                    Blooms:  Early spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Summer

Wildlife Value:   It is a host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Eastern Comma, Red-spotted Purple, and Viceroy butterflies.  Honeybees, bumblebees and other long-tongued bees enjoy nectar from the blooms. Its buds and flower clusters are eaten by birds.  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  The Carolina selverbell is susceptible to chlorosis in high pH soils.

20-40 ft.
The Carolina silverbell features drooping clusters (usually 2-5 flowers each) of bell-shaped, showy white flowers (1/2") which appear in April shortly before or simultaneous to the point when the leaves emerge. Four-winged, brownish, nut-like fruits appear in the fall and often persist well into the winter.
5 to 8
The Carolina silverbell is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils in part shade. This plant may be grown as a large, multi-stemmed shrub or trained as single trunk tree.
Medium to coarse
Rounded; open; irregular; low branches multistemmed
Part shade, shade
Nut-like fruits
15-35 ft.
Growth Rate:
The Carolina silverbell has dull, alternate, simple, finely toothed, dark yellowish-green, ovate-oblong leaves (2-5" long) that turn a somewhat attractive yellow in fall, but may drop rather early.
host plant, deciduous, bees, border plant, birds, pollinator, bumblebees, wildlife, shrub, honeybees, woodland garden, flowering, butterflies, showy

NCCES plant id: 2004

Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina) Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina)
Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina) Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina)
Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina) Halesia tetraptera (Halesia carolina)