Pterostyrax hispidus
Common Name: fragrant epaulette tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Styracaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 20.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy


Best grown in deep, fertile, moderately moist, acidic, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, and may appreciate some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates, but best flowering normally occurs in full sun. Flowering tends to diminish as the amount of shade increases. Propagate by seed or cuttings. Prune in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pterostyrax hispida, commonly called fragrant epaulette tree, is native to forested mountain areas in China and Japan. It typically matures to 15-20’ tall as a large shrub or to 30-50’ tall as a tree. Multi-stemmed trees typically mature in the 20-25’ range. It is most noted for its fragrant, fringed, bell-shaped, creamy white flowers (each to 1/3” long) that droop in pendulous clusters (5-10” long) in a late spring to early summer bloom. Flowers hang from one side and resemble the epaulettes (ornament shoulder pieces) found on some military uniforms. Flowers are followed by 5-ribbed fruits (small dry bristly cylindrical drupes to1/2”) in hanging clusters that persist into winter. Oblong to oblong-ovate leaves (3-7” long) with acuminate tips are glabrous and light green above and slightly pubescent and gray-green below. Fall color is yellow-green. This tree is in the same family as and closely related to silverbell.

Genus name comes from the Greek words pteron meaning a wing plus Styrax for the winged seeds of one species that looks like those of Styrax.

Specific epithet means bristly, in reference to the fruit.


No serious insect or disease problems.


This tree/shrub is quite attractive in bloom. Good specimen for lawns. Open woodland areas. Slopes. Shrub borders.