Once classified with eastern American silver bell (Halesia), to which they are related, these trees make handsome, interesting garden specimens. White flower clusters appear in late spring or early summer. Slim petals show from behind alternate leaves; plant where you can look up into themon a bank beside a path, above a bench, in a raised bed. These are choice plants for the woodland edge or as a focal point in a large shrub border. Established trees need little pruning.
P. corymbosa. Native to Japan. Similar to P. hispida, but a little smaller in stature and leaf, and less widely grown. Flower clusters are slightly broader, and individual blooms are more bell-shaped with protruding stamens. Fruit is downy, not furry, and winged, not ribbed.
P. hispida. EPAULETTE TREE. Native to Japan and China. Single- or multitrunked tree to 2030 ft. (possibly 40 ft.) tall and equally wide. Oval to oblong leaves are light green above, gray-green beneath. Creamy white, lightly fragrant flowers with fringed petal edges appear in drooping clusters to 9 in. long, 3 in. wide, giving bloom puffs an airy look. Pendent clusters of small, furry gray fruit hang on well into winter, are attractive on bare branches.