Halesia tetraptera (H. Carolina, H. monticola) – Carolina
to add a beautiful flowering tree for mid-May? One that people will
take notice of in spring, and other seasons too? Consider the Carolina
Silverbell -- Halesia tetraptera (H. Carolina, H. monticola).
Sure, so many trees are abloom at this time of year that many get overlooked
but this tree is special: smallish (1/2 – 1” long) bell-shaped
white or pinkish flowers appear in clusters, hanging in supple, shimmering
arrangements that are showy and unusual.
The flowers are most noticeable when the tree is sited adjacent to an
evergreen backdrop, not an uncommon locale for this understory tree
that prefers a sheltered spot in the garden.
yellow-green leaves persist well into the fall season, without any super
fall show, but as they drop reveal an interesting ovoid, 4-sided winged
fruit that persists throughout the winter months.
The tree reaches a height of 30’ or more, with a similar spread,
and can be single or multi-stemmed. As the tree matures the bark develops
a striking pattern of gray, brown and black stripes. Plant this tree
as a specimen or in small groves. Site within well drained, moist, acid
(forest-like) soils for best results.
A native tree to the Southeastern US, Halesia is hardy to zone 5..