In late spring this graceful tree is covered with white bell-shaped flowers along its branches. Our woodland paradises of Battleston Hill and the Wild Garden both boast beautiful examples, and you can find another in the Pinetum.
- Common name
- Hemsley snowball
- Height & spread
- 4-8m (13-26ft) high by 2.5-4m (8-13ft) wide
- Deciduous tree
- Fertile, humus-rich, moist soil
- Full sun or partial shade, sheltered from cold winds
- Hardy throughout the British Isles
Styrax is a genus of around 100 species and can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs with simple, alternate leaves and nodding bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers in spring or summer. They come from woodland and thickets in Europe, Asia, and North America.
They have a graceful habit, with alternate, short-stalked leaves of variable shape, and are grown for their dainty, bell or cup-shaped fragrant white flowers that appear in late spring or summer.
S. hemsleyanus is a medium-sized deciduous tree of open habit with finely-toothed, almost rounded leaves to 13cm in length. White, bell-shaped flowers to 15cm long appear in early summer.
This columnar tree from central China is named after William Botting Hemsley (1843-1924) who was a Keeper of the Kew Herbarium, and an authority on the plants of China and Central America.
- Grow in moist, fertile, humus-rich soil in a spot sheltered from cold, drying winds.
- Generally free from pests and diseases.
- Sow seed as soon as ripe, keeping a temperature of 15°C for three months followed by 0-5°C for a further 3 months, keeping frost-free until seedlings are established.
The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Styrax hemsleyanus an Award of Garden Merit with the description:
'Medium-sized deciduous tree of open habit with finely-toothed, almost rounded leaves to 13cm long. White, bell-shaped flowers 2.5cm wide are borne in drooping racemes to 15cm long.'