Styrax americanus Lam.

  • Family: Styracaceae
  • Common name: American snowbell.
  • Synonyms: Styrax americana; S. americanus var. pulverulentus; S. pulverulentus.

    Shrub to 3 m (9 ft) tall and 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter. Crown widely branched. Bark smooth, dark gray to brown. Twigs green to gray or brown, stellate-pubescent on young stems, becoming glabrous with age. Leaves alternate, simple, elliptic, oval, or oblong, 2.5-6 cm (1-2.5 in) long. Veins impressed, glabrous above, densely hairy beneath, dull green above, paler beneath, cuneate at base, acute to abruptly acuminate at apex, entire, serrate or shallowly toothed, turning dull green above, paler beneath in fall. Flowers in racemes 2.5-10 cm (1-4 in) long, pedicels pubescent, 1-4 flowers per inflorescence, 6 mm (1/4 in) wide; calyx shallowly 5-lobed, persistent, petals 5, white, slender pistil exserted beyond the stamens, stamens 10; flowers appear March to April. Fruits drupes, about 6 mm (1/4 in) in diameter, subglobose, one seed, matures September to October.

    Distribution: Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, east to Georgia and Florida, north to Virginia, west to Illinois and Missouri. Rare in Oklahoma; found only in the Coastal Plain physiographic province of McCurtain County.
    Habitat : floodplain forests, oxbow lakes and bald cypress swamps.
    NWI status: FACW-, OBL.
    Comments: Styrax is the Greek name for an old-world tree that produces storax (medicinal balsam); americanus refers to North America.
    Horticulture: Propagated readily from softwood cuttings. Requires moist soils.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/20/99
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