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Halesia tetraptera - L.

Common Name Silverbell or Mountain Silverbell
Family Styracaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Moist woods along the sides of streams in the mountains[43, 184].
Range Native to the southeastern United States.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Halesia tetraptera Silverbell or Mountain Silverbell

Halesia tetraptera Silverbell or Mountain Silverbell
Chrumps wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

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Halesia tetraptera is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


H. meehanii (Sarg.) Meehan ex Prain. H. stenocarpa K.Koch. H. tetraptera var. carnea Mouill. H. tetraptera f. dialypetala Rehder. H. tetraptera var. glabrescens Lange. H. tetraptera var. grandifolia Lavallée. H. tetraptera var. laevigata Schelle. H. tetraptera var. meehanii Sarg. H. tetraptera var. mollis Lange. H. tetraptera var. rosea Pépin. H. tetraptera f. stenocarpa (K.Koch) Voss. Mohrodendron meehanii (Sarg.) Sudw. Mohrodendron tetraptera (L.) Britton ex Ridgway.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

The ripe fruit is chewed for its acidity and very tart [183]. Unripe fruits are sometimes pickled[2, 183].The fruit is about 4cm in diameter[200].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Wood - soft, light, close-grained[82]. It weighs 35lb per cubic foot[235]. Good for carving, turnery, crafts, woodenware, pulp [1-2]. Trees occasionally grow large enough for saw timber and are then cut and used for panelling and cabinet making[229]. Coppices readily [1-2].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A small understory tree with a broad, rounded crown or a large shrub. It grows well with azaleas and rhododendrons and requires the same environmental conditions of moist, acidic, organically rich soil in part shade. Well-drained[202]. Requires a lime-free soil[200]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -25°c[184]. A very ornamental plant[1, 11], it has a moderate rate of growth and lives about 100 years[229]. It can flower when only 1.2 metres tall[113]. The flowers have a delicate sweet perfume[245]. The sub-species H. tetraptera monticola forms a tree about 24 metres tall. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Halesia tetraptera has a dense crown providing 0 to 33% open space in their silhouette and cast deep shade [1-2]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78, 113, 200]. It takes 18 months to germinate[113]. Warm stratifying the seed for 2 - 3 months at 14 - 25°c then cold stratifying for 2 - 3 months at 0 - 5°c can reduce the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of greenwood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Roots in 28 days. A fair percentage[78]. Layering in early spring as the buds break. Takes 12 months. High percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Common silverbell, mountain silverbell, Carolina silverbell

NORTHERN AMERICA: United States, Indiana, Ohio (south), West Virginia (south), Illinois (south), Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (north), Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia (southwest),

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Halesia carolinaSilver-Bell Tree, Carolina silverbell, Mountain silverbellTree8.0 4-8 MLMNM102

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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