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Distylium

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
dis-STY-lee-um
Description

Distylum is a genus of evergreen shrubs in the Hamamelidaceae (witch hazel) family native to Asia.  Hybrids in this genus are compact, coming in many sizes, and are very insect and disease resistant as well as tolerant of drought and heat.  Some cultivars even grow well in wet soils.  Their landscape potential is further aided by non-messy fruits and minimal maintenance needs.

These shrubs grow best in full sun, tolerating part shade.  Prune the tips in late May/June for bushier, more compact growth. They are slow growing and low maintenance.

Plant in small groups or mass plant along a border or walkway, or on a sloped area.  Their compact form works well in the small nooks of cottage or formal gardens and they can be planted in a row and pruned to form a privacy hedge or screen.

Insect Pests, Diseases, and Other Problems: While they have no major pest or disease problems, they are susceptible to Phytophthora root rot, so consider resistant alternatives if this disease is present in your area.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Cascade'
    Purple-bronze giving way to blue-green; leaves held upright, compact but wide, hardy to 7a
  • Cast in Bronze®
    Bronze new growth, compact and round, 3'–4' by 3'–4', hardy to 7a
  • 'Cinnamon Girl'
    Purple giving way to dark green, small leaves, dwarf hybrid, 2'-3' by 3'-4', hardy to 6b
  • 'Coppertone'
    Red-bronze emerging to blue-green, dwarf hybrid, 3'-4' by 4'-5', hardy to 7a
  • D. racemosum Form
    Large shrub to tree, 10'-15 high; one of the parents of hybrid cultivars
  • 'Emerald Heights'
    Compact and round, dark green, 5' by 8', hardy to 7a
  • Jewel Box™
    Compact, blue-green foliage, 2'–3' by 3'–4', hardy to 7a
  • 'Linebacker'
    Red-orange new growth to dark green, barrel-shaped, 8'-10' by 6'-8', hardy to 7a
  • Magic Globe™
    Compact, dark green foliage, 3' by 3', hardy to 7a
  • 'Vintage Jade'
    Layered branches, short and wide, 2' by 8', hardy to 6b
'Blue Cascade', Cast in Bronze®, 'Cinnamon Girl', 'Coppertone', D. racemosum, 'Emerald Heights', Jewel Box™, 'Linebacker', Magic Globe™, 'Vintage Jade'
Tags:
#cultivars#evergreen#full sun tolerant#small spaces#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#shrub#red flowers#slow growing#broadleaf evergreen#colorful leaves#low maintenance#spring flowers#cottage garden#accent plant#mass planting#year-round interest#hedges#disease resistant#privacy#multistemmed#pest resistant#woody shrub#hybrids#rounded#english garden#screening#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#compact habit#wet soils tolerant#banks#partial shade tolerant#pruning tolerant#no petals
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Cascade'
    Purple-bronze giving way to blue-green; leaves held upright, compact but wide, hardy to 7a
  • Cast in Bronze®
    Bronze new growth, compact and round, 3'–4' by 3'–4', hardy to 7a
  • 'Cinnamon Girl'
    Purple giving way to dark green, small leaves, dwarf hybrid, 2'-3' by 3'-4', hardy to 6b
  • 'Coppertone'
    Red-bronze emerging to blue-green, dwarf hybrid, 3'-4' by 4'-5', hardy to 7a
  • D. racemosum Form
    Large shrub to tree, 10'-15 high; one of the parents of hybrid cultivars
  • 'Emerald Heights'
    Compact and round, dark green, 5' by 8', hardy to 7a
  • Jewel Box™
    Compact, blue-green foliage, 2'–3' by 3'–4', hardy to 7a
  • 'Linebacker'
    Red-orange new growth to dark green, barrel-shaped, 8'-10' by 6'-8', hardy to 7a
  • Magic Globe™
    Compact, dark green foliage, 3' by 3', hardy to 7a
  • 'Vintage Jade'
    Layered branches, short and wide, 2' by 8', hardy to 6b
'Blue Cascade', Cast in Bronze®, 'Cinnamon Girl', 'Coppertone', D. racemosum, 'Emerald Heights', Jewel Box™, 'Linebacker', Magic Globe™, 'Vintage Jade'
Tags:
#cultivars#evergreen#full sun tolerant#small spaces#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#shrub#red flowers#slow growing#broadleaf evergreen#colorful leaves#low maintenance#spring flowers#cottage garden#accent plant#mass planting#year-round interest#hedges#disease resistant#privacy#multistemmed#pest resistant#woody shrub#hybrids#rounded#english garden#screening#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#compact habit#wet soils tolerant#banks#partial shade tolerant#pruning tolerant#no petals
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Distylium
    Family:
    Hamamelidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    E and SE Asia, hybrid origin
    Play Value:
    Screening
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Insect and disease resistant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Brown, woody capsule with two valves and two seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers lack petals, consisting of a brightly colored calyx and stamens, and emerge from the leaf axils. Bloom from as early as January to as late as April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    While most cultivars mature to a dark green, many have emergent growth ranging from reds to purples to bronze shades.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Rigid, short branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    English Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Heat
    Insect Pests
    Wet Soil