|Halesia subsp. var.||Silverbells, Snowdrop Tree|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Halesia (Stephen Hale, 1677-1761, author of a famous work on "Vegetable Statics"). Syn. Mohrodendron. Styracaceae. Silver-Bell. Snowdrop-tree. Trees or large shrubs grown for their handsome white flowers, appearing in spring.
Deciduous and more or less stellate-pubescent: lvs. short-petioled, without stipules, involute in bud, denticulate: fls. in axillary clusters or short racemes on branchlets of the previous year; calyx-tube obconical, slightly 4-ribbed, with 4 minute teeth; corolla campanulate, 4-lobed or nearly 4-parted, white; stamens 8-16; style slender; ovary inferior, 2-4-celled, with 4 ovules in each cell: fr. an oblong, dry drupe with 2-4 longitudinal wings; stone 1-3-seeded.—Three species in N. Amer.
The snowdrop-trees are large shrubs or trees with rather large bright green generally oblong and short- stalked leaves and white slender-stalked drooping bell-shaped flowers appearing before or with the leaves and followed by winged light brown fruits. Halesia Carolina is hardy as far north as Massachusetts and is very handsome in spring when covered with its white flowers. Halesia diptera is hardy as far north as Philadelphia and is usually a smaller plant, but has larger flowers and leaves. They thrive in almost any good soil, but prefer a rich well-drained soil and a sheltered position; they are easily transplanted. Propagation is by layers or root-cuttings in spring or autumn; also by greenwood cuttings taken from forced plants. Seed should be sown at once or stratified: if allowed to become dry, it does not germinate until the second or sometimes the third year.
Halesia (Silverbell or Snowdrop Tree) is a small genus of four or five species of deciduous large shrubs or small trees in the family Styracaceae, native to eastern Asia (southeast China) and eastern North America (southern Ontario, Canada south to Florida and eastern Texas, United States). They grow to 5-20 m tall (rarely to 39 m), and have alternate, simple ovate leaves 5-16 cm long and 3-8 cm broad. The flowers are pendulous, white or pale pink, produced in open clusters of 2-6 together, each flower 1-3 cm long. The fruit is an oblong dry drupe 2-4 cm long, with two or four narrow longitudinal ribs or wings.
Pests and diseases
- Halesia carolina L. - eastern North America (syn. H. parviflora or H. tetraptera)
- Halesia diptera Ellis - southeastern North America
- Halesia macgregorii Chun - eastern China
- Halesia monticola (Rehd.) Sarg. - eastern North America (syn. H. carolina var. monticola; H. tetraptera var. monticola)
- Halesia parviflora Michx. - eastern North America
- Halesia tetraptera Ellis - eastern North America
H. diptera is the most distinct, readily distinguished from the other taxa by its two-winged fruit; the other taxa all have four-winged fruit.
H. monticola is by far the largest of the genus, with specimens up to 39 m tall known in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina; the second-largest is H. macgregorii, reaching 24 m in China. The others rarely exceed 10 m tall.
H. corymbosa, Nichols.=Pterostyrax corymbosa.—H. hispida, Mast.=Pterostyrax hispida.—H. parviflora, Micbx. Shrub, resembling H. Carolina: lvs., pedicels, and calyx densely pubescent: corolla 1/3 – ½ . long: fr. 2-winged. Ga. to Fla.CH
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- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963