Styrax, commonly known as Snowbell, is a genus of about 130 species of large shrubs or small trees belonging to the Styracaceae family. Native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, these deciduous plants are known for their attractive habit and showy floral displays.
Size: Styrax exhibits an upright growth habit with a rounded crown, typically reaching a size of 10-20 feet (3-6 meters) tall and wide, although this can vary significantly depending on the species. The leaves are usually alternate, simple, and ovate, turning an attractive yellow in fall in some species.
Flowers: The flowers of Styrax are its standout feature. They are small, bell-shaped, and usually white, sometimes with a hint of pink or yellow. The flowers hang from slender stalks, creating a charming ‘snowfall’ effect when the tree is in full bloom.
Bloom time: Styrax typically blooms in late spring to early summer. It is hardy in USDA zones 6-8, making it suitable for a wide range of climates.
Uses: Styrax trees are often used as specimen trees due to their attractive form and beautiful flowers. They can also be planted in borders, woodland gardens, or even used as bonsai.
Pollinators: The fragrant flowers of Styrax attract various pollinators, particularly bees.
A key fact about Styrax is its ornamental appeal throughout the year. In addition to the charming springtime blooms, some species also produce interesting fruits that resemble drupes or dry capsules, adding to the tree’s visual interest. Furthermore, the bark of some species peels away in interesting patterns, providing winter interest. Styrax’s year-round beauty and relatively low maintenance make it a popular choice for gardeners seeking a small, ornamental tree.