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Halesia diptera (Two-wing silverbell)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Halesia diptera

Halesia diptera Ellis

Two-wing Silverbell, Two-winged Silverbell, Silverbell, American Snowdrop Tree, Snowdrop Tree, Snowbell, Cowlicks

Styracaceae (Storax Family)

Synonym(s): Halesia diptera var. magniflora

USDA Symbol: HADI3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A small, rounded tree or shrub, two-winged silverbell or American snowdrop tree is usually multi-stemmed or low-branched. The plant usually grows 3-15 feet high and has alternate leaves 2-7 inches long and half as wide, with distinct veins. Deciduous leaves are dark-yellow-green in summer, changing to yellow in fall. The white, tubular flowers hang on long, pendulous pedicels and are about 1 inch across and consist of 4 waxy petals with a tight cluster of stamens in the center, looking somewhat like a white candle in a white candle holder. A two-winged fruit cures tan for fall. The bark of young trees is striped and becomes furrowed in an interesting pattern with age. It is native to southeastern North America from South Carolina south to Florida, west to Arkansas and southeast Texas.

The common and scientific names both refer to the two-winged fruit. This immature sour green fruit is consumed by wildlife, including squirrels.


From the Image Gallery

30 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 35 feet tall, often much shorter.
Flower: Flowers 1 inch bells.
Fruit: Nut-like, with 2 or 4 wings.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC , TX
Native Distribution: SC to AR, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Rich woods; swamp margins

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Acid-based
Conditions Comments: This species blooms 1-2 weeks later than H. carolina. Though not drought-tolerant, this species seems to adapt to other cultural extremes. A common variety, var. magniflora, is more heavily flowered and drought-tolerant than the species.


Use Ornamental: Understory tree, Accent tree or shrub
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Cuttings are difficult to root; those that do root should not be transplanted until growth flushes the following spring. Seeds require a period of after-ripening followed by cold, moist stratification.
Seed Collection: Collect fruit from early fall to early winter. Air dry to prevent molding or rotting. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Halesia diptera in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Halesia diptera in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Halesia diptera


Record Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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