Styrax americanus

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: American snowbell 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Styracaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in acidic, organically rich, medium to wet soils with reasonable soil drainage in full sun to part shade. Performs well in moist sandy loams. Prune as needed in winter to shape. Propagate by seed or cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Styrax americanus, commonly called American snowbell, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 6-10' (less frequently to 15') tall. It is a wetland species that is native to wet woods, swamps, marsh peripheries, floodplains and stream banks, sometimes growing in standing water, primarily in the southeastern U. S. from Florida to eastern Texas north along the coastal plain to Virginia and up the Mississippi valley to southeastern Missouri and further up the Ohio valley to southern Illinois and southern Indiana. Shrubs in Missouri typically occur in bald cypress/tupelo swamps and wet woods in the far southeastern bootheel region.

American snowbell is particularly noted for its showy, bell-shaped, pendulous, mildly fragrant, white flowers (to 1/2" long) which bloom April to early June, singly or in clusters of 1-4, from the leaf axils or stem ends. Each flower has five reflexed petals. Flowers give way to hairy subglobose fruits (1/3" long) which mature to grayish brown in fall. Elliptic to ovate dark green leaves (to 3" long) are mostly hairless with few if any marginal teeth.

American snowbell is a host plant for promethea moth (Callosamia promethea).

Genus name comes from the classical Greek name derived from a Semitic name for these resin producing plants.

Specific epithet is in reference to the U.S. habitat for American snowbell.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Beautiful rounded flowering shrub for moist to wet areas of the landscape. Woodland gardens. Native plant areas.