Sinowilsonia henryi

Common Name: sinowilsonia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Native Range: Central China
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Green (apetalous)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy


Grow in organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Site in a protected location in the St. Louis area where this shrub/tree may not be reliably winter hardy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sinowilsonia henryi is a large deciduous shrub or small tree of the witch hazel family. It is native to forest areas in central and western China (Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Sichuan) and is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUNC) list as a near threatened species. It typically grows to 6' tall and to 4' wide over the first ten years, eventually maturing to 15-20' tall. E. H. Wilson (1876-1930) observed the plant in China in 1907 and brought back seed to the Arnold Arboretum for introduction into commerce in 1908. Wilson was affectionately known by the nickname Chinese Wilson which in turn entered the world of botanical nomenclature with the naming of this genus. This plant is difficult to locate in commerce and is primarily grown for its botanical interest. Sinowilsonia is a monotypic genus that has only one species. Elliptic to ovate green leaves (to 6" long) have fine dentate margins. Apetalous green flowers in pendulous racemes bloom in May (males droop catkin-like to 2 1/2" long and females to 1 1/4" long). Female racemes elongate to 6" as black-seeded fruit capsules form.

Genus name comes from the Greek sinai meaning Chinese and wilsonia which honors Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930), of the Arnold Arboretum, Boston who traveled and collected widely in China.

Specific epithet honors Augustine Henry (1857-1930), another renowned plant collector who spent time in China.


No serious insect or disease problems are known. This shrub/tree is likely to be difficult to grow well in the St. Louis climate.


Rare and unusual shrub/tree.