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Styrax americanus (American snowbell)
Cressler, Alan

Styrax americanus

Styrax americanus Lam.

American Snowbell, American Snowbells, American Silverbells, Big-leaf Snowbell, Storax

Styracaceae (Storax Family)

Synonym(s): Styrax americanus var. pulverulentus, Styrax pulverulentus

USDA Symbol: STAM4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is a slender-branched, deciduous shrub or small tree, 8-15 ft. tall, with a wide, wispy, open crown. American snowbell’s showy, white, bell-shaped flowers are borne in pairs from leaf axils. When in bloom, they cover the plant creating a fragrant, white cloud. The foliage is bright-green and glossy.


From the Image Gallery

21 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , DC , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MO , MS , NC , OH , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to VA & MO
Native Habitat: Moist woods; wooded stream banks; swamps

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Moist to wet, cool, acid soils. Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam
Conditions Comments: Does not compete well with other shrubs or trees. Tolerates wet feet.


Use Ornamental: Showy, Accent shrub, Blooms ornamental
Use Wildlife: Nectar-bees, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Stratify seeds and sow in a greenhouse in January or February, or sow fresh, untreated seed outdoors in the fall. Seeds do not germinate well in warm temperatures. Silverbells can be increased by layerings or softwood cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect the seeds when they have turned a glossy brown and the capsule has begun to dry. Avoid collecting seeds from ground. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 60-90 days at 41 degrees.
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:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1081 Collected 2007-08-30 in Marion County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


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

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) 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 Styrax americanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Styrax americanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Styrax americanus


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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