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fragrant snowbell

Styrax obassia flowerfragrant snowbell, Styrax obassia

Scientific Name

Styrax obassia

Common Name

Styrax obassia gets its common name, fragrant snowbell, from the 6 to 8-inch-long clusters of fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers produced May to June.


Fragrant snowbell is native to Japan, Korea and Manchuria.


Not native to Kentucky.


Growth Habit and Form

Fragrant snowbell is a small, 20 to 30- foot tall, deciduous tree. The habit is pyramidal to oval in youth becoming more open and rounded with age.


Leaves are alternate, simple, and circular or disk-shaped to 8 inches long and wide. Leaves are deep green and glabrous above and covered with short soft hairs beneath.


White, ¾ inch diameter, bell shaped, fragrant flowers are borne on 4-inch long stalks in 4 to 8 inch long drooping clusters in May to June.


Fruit is a ¾ inch long ovoid drupe. Fruit are silvery-green and occur in clusters in late summer.


Bark is gray to gray-brown, relatively smooth, and marked with shallow, vertical fissures. Fragrant snowbell has winter interest due to showy bark and interesting branching pattern.

Wild and Cultivated Varieties



Landscape Use

Fragrant snowbell is appropriate as a specimen tree where the attractive bark with orange-brown vertical fissures can be appreciated at a close distance, or it can add color to the mixed shrubbery border. It is an excellent ornamental for urban gardens.

Hardiness Zone

Hardy in USDA Zone 5 to 8.

Growth Rate

Rapid growth rate

Cultivation and Propagation Information

Fragrant snowbell does best in full sun or light shade in acid, well-drained, moist loam enriched with organic matter. Transplant young balled and burlapped or container grown trees in early spring. Large plants are fairly difficult to transplant. Propagates easily from softwood cuttings taken in mid-July. Seed propagation is more difficult.

Diseases and Insects

No pests or diseases of major concern.

Wildlife Considerations

Fragrant snowbell provides homes and shelter for wildlife.

Maintenance Practices

Minimal attention given appropriate cultural conditions.


Fragrant snowbell was introduced into cultivation in 1870.