These elegant and underappreciated trees are native to the Southeast. Bell-shaped white flowers appear in spring, usually just before the leaves emerge. Medium green foliage turns yellow in fall. Pretty in woodland gardens. Good substitute for dogwood (Cornus) where dogwoods will not grow. Grow best in rich, well-drained, acid soil. Buy container-grown plants, as balled-and-burlapped ones do not transplant easily.
CAROLINA SILVER BELL
halesia carolina(Halesia tetraptera)
- Moderate growth to 3040 feet tall, 2035 feet wide.
- Clusters of snow white, 12 inches flowers in midspring hang along length of graceful branches.
- Oval, finely toothed, 2- to 5 inches-long leaves.
- Four-winged brown fruit hangs on almost all winter.
- Train to a single trunk when young, or it will grow as a large shrub.
- Flowers show off to best advantage when you can look up into tree.
- James Laubach has leaves heavily splashed in gold.
Plants in the Vestita Group, sometimes offered as Halesia c. vestita, top out at about 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide, with larger flowers than those of the species. 'Rosea' has light pink flowers.
two-winged silver bell
- Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
- To 2030 feet tall and wide, usually multitrunked.
- Oval leaves, pointed at the tip.
- Flowers resemble that of Halesia carolina, but they are more deeply lobed and bloom a week or two later, just after leaves emerge.
- Fruit is similar to that of Halesia carolina but has two rather than four wings.
- Halesia d.
- magniflora, the showiest silver bell, has larger flowers and is a more profuse bloomer.
mountain silver bell
- Similar to and sometimes listed as Halesia carolina.
- Monticola Group.
- Plants are larger, eventually to 6080 feet tall and at least half as wide.
- Leaves are also bigger (36 inches long), but tree casts only moderate shade.
- Flowers and fruit are also somewhat larger.