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Bigleaf Snowbell Styrax grandifolius

Phonetic Spelling
STYE-racks gran-dih-FOH-lee-us
Description

Styrax grandifolius, commonly known as Bigleaf Snowbell is a deciduous tree native to North Carolina. In nature, it can be found in mesic to dry upland hardwood forests, on rocky slopes, and in ravines.  It forms thickets. Commonly found as an understory tree in mature hardwood forests. 

Its white, bell-shaped flowers form as racemes, each having 5 to 20 flowers.  Some images indicate that the flowers may be partially concealed by its large leaves.  When in full bloom, this is not the case.  The showy flowers are quite visible.

It's said that this plant will perform better when grown in the garden than what is found in the wild.  A controlled environment or location will allow the plant to flower at its best.  In the wild, optimum conditions cannot be guaranteed.  A heat loving specimen, growing in climates that experience cooler summers may also lead to a less than successful habit.

Named for its very large leaf.  It can be easily propagated by leaf cuttings.  It is classified as a FACU, a Facultative Upland species meaning it rarely occurs on wetlands. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#slow growing#native tree#deciduous shrub#piedmont#native shrub#large leaves#woody#spring flowers#flowering tree#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#woody shrub#flowering shrub#thickets#native garden#mountains#long lifespan#summer interest#spring interest#Braham Arboretum#flowers late spring#poor soils tolerant#fruits summer#food source summer#deciduous tree#FACU#food source nectar#food source pollen#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#salt spray intolerant#shrub borders#salt intolerant#coastal plant#native
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#slow growing#native tree#deciduous shrub#piedmont#native shrub#large leaves#woody#spring flowers#flowering tree#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#woody shrub#flowering shrub#thickets#native garden#mountains#long lifespan#summer interest#spring interest#Braham Arboretum#flowers late spring#poor soils tolerant#fruits summer#food source summer#deciduous tree#FACU#food source nectar#food source pollen#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#salt spray intolerant#shrub borders#salt intolerant#coastal plant#native
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Styrax
    Species:
    grandifolius
    Family:
    Styracaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native ornamental
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies, bees, and pollinating insects. Birds and other small animals use the fruits as a food source.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • 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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    In North Carolina, the fruits are available from August to September. They contain 2 to 3 seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White bell-shaped axillary racemes 5-6” with 5-20 flowers. In North Carolina, the flowers are available from April to May. White in color with yellow stamens.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The upper surface is dark green and ranges from glabrous to sparsely pubescent. The lower surface is a soft pubescent with the hairs appearing to give the surface a whitish coloring. The hairs are star shaped.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, thin, dark gray and streaked.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Smooth ascending branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Small Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Poor Soil