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
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: 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 InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC , TX
Native Distribution: SC to AR, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Rich woods; swamp margins
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
PropagationDescription: 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 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 ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Halesia diptera in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Halesia diptera in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Halesia diptera
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff