Fragrant Snowbell (Styrax obassia)

The fragrant styrax, also called the fragrant snowbell, is a small, delicate, and slender tree. Its common name refers to the tree's fragrant, bell-shaped, white, and hanging flowers, which bloom in May-June. The tree's leaves are oval-shaped and velvety. The bark is smooth and gray, and exfoliates with age revealing the inner orange bark.

Family: Styracaceae (Silver Bells)

Characteristics: The 8-inch-long leaves are oval-shaped, velvety, and dark green. In May-June, the 4-inch to 8-inch-long, fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers begin to bloom. These flowers give way to rounded fruits. Bark is smooth and gray, though exfoliates with age, revealing the orange inner bark. This tree can grow as a shrub or an upright and rounded tree with ascending branches. It grows 20-30 feet high and 15-25 feet wide.

Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)

Geographic Origin: Japan (non-native)

Cultivation Notes: Requires medium maintenance. Does best in full sun to part shade. Prefers acidic, moist, and well-drained soils.

Number on Campus: 2

Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden