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TREES & plants

Silverbell

Bell-shaped flowers of silverbell.

Silverbell is a medium-sized tree that produces white bell-shaped flowers in spring. The flowers are followed by dry fruits with four wings. This tree may be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name: 
Halesia carolina
All Common Names: 
silverbell, Carolina silverbell, small-flowered silverbell
Family (English): 
Storax
Family (Botanic): 
Styracaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Patio/sidewalk, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Mature Height: 
30-40 feet
Mature Width: 
20-35 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8, 
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Intolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Persistent fruit/seeds, 
  • Showy fruit, 
  • Showy flowers, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Round, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
Wildlife: 
  • Insect pollinators, 
  • Small mammals
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Grows in full sun to partial shade in a moist, well-drained, acidic soil.Chlorosis may occur on high pH soils.
Twigs may be killed in severe winters.
Prune after flowering in the spring.

Disease, pests and problems

Not tolerant of salt or compacted soils.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Silverbell (Halesia carolina)Silverbell (Halesia carolina) fruitphoto: John Hagstrom

Native to the southeastern United States.

Bark color and texture 

Attractive, smooth, gray bark with creamy-white striping.Bark on twigs exfoliates slightly in fine silvery shreds.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves, 2 to 5 inches long with an elliptic shape.
Margins slightly serrate.
Dark green summer color changing to an attractive yellow or yellow-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Pendulous, white, bell-shaped flowers in clusters of up to five.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed 

Flowers are followed by a dry, 4-winged brown fruit in the fall.

Halesia carolina or Silverbell