2016

 
 

Snowdrop Trees, or Halesia, is a small genus of small trees in the Styrax family. Aside from one Asian species, they are entirely native to North America ranging from southern Ontario south to Florida. In cultivation they grow 20 to 30 feet tall, though they may grow taller in the forests. Snowdrop trees are noted primarily for their flowers, which are pendulous, white or pale pink, and produced in clusters.

One of the best of the genus Halesia is Mountain Silverbell, or Halesia tetraptera var. monticola which grows to 30 feet tall with an upright-spreading crown. The flowers are larger than those of most Silverbells with the white, bell-shaped blossoms borne in clusters of up to five. Flowering occurs in mid-spring on the previous season’s wood. Because the flowers point downward, they are partially hidden by the foliage, thus are best viewed from below. And there is a cultivar of Mountain silverbell that is even more exciting and that is Halesia monticola ‘Rosea’, or Pink Mountain Silverbell. This is a very heavy bloomer of lovely, pale pink, flowers that hang gracefully from the slender branches. This tree will reach maturity at 40–60 feet with a well developed single leader and an upright, conical habit. It is native to mountain areas of the US states of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, but has a wide range of adaptability and can be grown throughout the UK as well as southern Canada and New Zealand and temperate Australia.

Silverbells are refined trees, slender and graceful with beautiful spring bloom, light summer shade and soft yellow fall colors. They're not common perhaps because they're not dramatic enough for the nursery trade but they are undoubtedly elegant.

They grow well where Dogwoods grow, that is in cool, sandy loam, moist, perhaps with part shade. And, as is often the case, they're not available at the big, discount home-centers, but may be found at the better tree nurseries.

Mountain silverbell

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