Characteristics of Japanese Snowbell Tree (Styrax japonicus) in the Wild

Styrax japonicus
The Japanese Snowbell is a small tree with white flowers from the Styracaceae family. It is a tree native to Japan, Korea, and China. Japanese Snowbell is widely cultivated for its ornamental flowers.

This species was first described in 1837 by Philipp Franz von Siebold and Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini.

Japanese Snowbell grows in cool, moist forests at an altitude of 400 to 1800 m asl on acidic to alkaline, sandy to loamy soils, rich in humus, and nutrient-rich soils in cool, shady soils. The tree itself is quite frost-resistant.


Characteristics of Japanese Snowbell Leaf

Styrax japonicus Leaf

The leaves are alternate and have stalks 5-10 mm long. The leaf blades are 4-10 cm long, and 2-5 wide, oval, pointed, wedge-shaped to broad. The base of the leaf is wedge-shaped, with all the edges serrated.


Characteristics of Japanese Snowbell Flower

Styrax japonicus Flower
Source: Cutler

The flowers are 2-2.8 cm in diameter and slightly drooping. Petals 4-5 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, and irregularly serrated. The stamens are shorter than the crown, slightly wider, and have white hair on top.

The Japanese Snowbell tree blooms from April to July, and the fruit ripens from September to December.


Characteristics of Japanese Snowbell Fruit

Styrax japonicus Fruit

The fruit is egg-shaped, 8-14 mm long, 8-10 mm in diameter, wrinkled, and covered with gray tomentose hairs. Seeds are brown and wrinkled.


Characteristics of Japanese Snowbell Tree

Styrax japonicus Tree
Source: Tree Library

The Japanese Snowbell grows as a small tree 4-8 meters (rarely up to 10 meters) tall and is densely branched with a dense crown. The branches are purplish, thin, and spreading. Young shoots are covered with hair and slightly flattened, then become terete.

The Japanese Snowbell tree is cultivated in many places with a suitable climate as a garden ornamental tree and bonsai.


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