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Styrax japonicus

Phonetic Spelling
STYE-racks juh-PON-ih-kus
Description

The Japanese Snowbell is a deciduous flowering tree with a relatively compact habit that can be vase-shaped when young but with low horizontal branching and a more broadly rounded crown with age.  It prefers moist, acidic well-drained soil in the full sun to partial shade.  It casts a light shade. This tree is moderately salt tolerant. 

The hard wood from this plant has been used to make the ribbing for umbrellas as well as toys.  Its branches were used for walking sticks.  

It blooms in late spring and its fruit ripens in late summer on the current season's growth.   The foliage occurs on upper portion of branches and does not obscure pendulous flowers significantly.  The bark has irregular, interlacing orange-brown fissures which adds interest to a winter landscape.  This is an excellent  choice for a hillside or when uses as a slope planting.  Consistent moisture is imperative, don't allow the soil to dry out.   

Plant near a patio, in a lawn, a border or in small groupings.  Plant it alongside a building on the northern side to protect it from strong winds and to provide a lovely dappled shade for under plantings.  It does not tolerate heat or drought very well.

Winter pruning can be done to control the shape of this tree.  

Quite often, this specimen will self seed.  Seedlings can be found underneath older trees.

Quick ID

  • Bell-shaped, pendulous white flowers on short lateral shoots
  • Deciduous small tree has foliage on branch tips
  • Brown bark with interlacing orange-brown fissures

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Relatively insect and disease free.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Carillon'
    Weeping form
  • 'Emerald Pagoda' Form
    Larger leaves and flowers
  • 'Evening Light'
    White flowers and purple leaves.
  • 'Pendula'
    Weeping, cascading branches.
  • 'Pink Chimes'
    Willowy branches, pink flowers
  • 'Rosea'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Snow Cone'
    White bell-shaped flowers
  • 'Sohuksan'
    Darker green foliage; larger, white flowers
'Carillon', 'Emerald Pagoda', 'Evening Light', 'Pendula', 'Pink Chimes', 'Rosea', 'Snow Cone', 'Sohuksan'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#interesting bark#wildlife plant#nectar plant#salt tolerant#winter interest#flowering tree#showy fruits#lawn tree#cpp#children's garden#playground plant#border planting#pollinator plant#fantz#deciduous tree#small group plantings#compact habit#fruits#patio planting#pollinator garden#bee friendly#heat intolerant#drought intolerant#compact#tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Carillon'
    Weeping form
  • 'Emerald Pagoda' Form
    Larger leaves and flowers
  • 'Evening Light'
    White flowers and purple leaves.
  • 'Pendula'
    Weeping, cascading branches.
  • 'Pink Chimes'
    Willowy branches, pink flowers
  • 'Rosea'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Snow Cone'
    White bell-shaped flowers
  • 'Sohuksan'
    Darker green foliage; larger, white flowers
'Carillon', 'Emerald Pagoda', 'Evening Light', 'Pendula', 'Pink Chimes', 'Rosea', 'Snow Cone', 'Sohuksan'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#interesting bark#wildlife plant#nectar plant#salt tolerant#winter interest#flowering tree#showy fruits#lawn tree#cpp#children's garden#playground plant#border planting#pollinator plant#fantz#deciduous tree#small group plantings#compact habit#fruits#patio planting#pollinator garden#bee friendly#heat intolerant#drought intolerant#compact#tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Styrax
    Species:
    japonicus
    Family:
    Styracaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China to Japan and N. Philippines
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, birds, and other pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Pieces Used in Games
    Shade
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Problem free flowering tree.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Horizontal
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    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)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an ovoid, dry drupe, with gray-white pendulous. Each contain 1-seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The waxy flowers are white, slightly fragrant, and campanulate. The stamens are yellow. They are <1 inch and born on short lateral shoots on long pedicels. The corolla is 5-lobed and united near base; stamens yellow; pedicel 1.5" long. Styrax obasia has more fragrant flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate and simple. They are broad-elliptic to elliptic-oblong, acuminate, cuneate. They are shallowly toothed, and dark glossy green. They are 1"-3" long and 1" wide.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Ridges
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Gray brown with orange attractive interlacing fissures make an attractive winter garden.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Stems are multi-stemmed, however, can be pruned to take on a tree forms. The stems are light brown, zigzag, leaf scars 2-ranked. They have irregular orange-brown fissures.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt