CarolinaSilverbell (Halesia carolina)

Carolina Silverbell 1

This attractive shrub or medium size tree is also know as Snowdrop Tree or Opossum Wood, it grows in moist soils along streams in the under story of hardwood forests.   It has a moderate growth rate and lives about 100 years.   The wood is soft and close grained and is valued for wood crafts.

Carolina Silverbell 2

The white bell shaped flowers makes it a tree you will value in your own garden.   Honey bees find this small tree very attractive so if you want more pollinators for your native plants or vegetable garden this is a perfect selection.  The flowers will appear as the leaves begin to expand in March to May.   Each flower has a four celled ovary, but usually only one cell produces a viable seed.   The fruit is a dry, oblong, four winged “drupe” which means it is dark in color and pear shaped and will mature in the fall.

It is classed as a tree that can reach 30 feet tall and prefers full sun to part-shade.

The Cherokee used the wood as building material.   They also used the sap as a dye.  The crafts would be rubbed with this sap to give the finished wood a very fine finish.

Carolina Silverbell 3

The above photo was taken today and shows how the Carolina Silverbell is still very attractive tree in your summer garden.    Since we have it planted on a small hill in full sun, it gets some extra watering during July and August.

 

 

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