2016

 
 

Pterostyrax is a small genus of four species of deciduous large shrubs or small trees in the family Styracaceae, and are all native to eastern Asia. One of these four is called Fragrant epaulette tree, or Pterostyrax hispida, and is another one of those under-utilized, yet highly desirable, ornamental trees typically found in connoisseur collections. Its primary assets are bloom, fragrance, foliage and ease of maintenance.
Fragrant epaulette tree has delicate, creamy white, fragrant blooms which appear in late spring/early summer which is a time when few other trees are flowering. These sweetly fragrant flowers are like white wisteria or black locust and hang in 9 inch long clusters and are especially pretty fluttering in a light breeze. But they are also beautiful when seen from below, which may influence where you would site the tree. The maximum effect for example would be on an embankment or along a pathway. And this is an ideal tree to shade a bench.
The leaves are up to eight inches long, apple-green above, silvery beneath and turn yellow-chartreuese in autumn. The bark is also handsome with orange and tan color streaking through the grey outer bark. And finally the fuzzy, grey seed pods remain on the branches throughout the winter. They're attractive and have been used in dried flower arrangements.
Fragrant epaulette tree is rarely bothered by insects or disease. The tree may ultimately reach 30 feet in height with a similar spread but typically is found at about 20 feet. It grows best in full sun with moist, well drained soil but can tolerate clay or sand. It also withstands drought and air pollution. It grows moderately, about 2 feet a year, and forms a willowy and slender open vase with age. It is quite adaptable being able to thrive throughout the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Lower Canada down to the US Gulf Coast. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

Fragrant epaulette tree

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