Botanical Name: Halesia tetraptera
Common Name: Mountain Silverbell
Nativity: S.E. North America
Notable Feature: The drooping clusters of white flowers appear in April shortly before or simultaneously when the leaves emerge. View from beneath to be magically transformed. The gray bark with its contrasting black striations adds winter interest.
Habit: A native to the southern Appalachian Mountains where it grows alongside streams as a low-branched, understory tree with a broad, rounded crown. At maturity this deciduous tree may reach 40 feet high and up to 35 feet wide.
Flower: Silvery white, ½-inch, bell-shaped flowers dangle in clusters from the branches in early May. The perfect (bisexual) flowers are very ornamental.
Fruit: Four-winged, seed pods decoratively hang from its branches in autumn.
Foliage: Finely toothed, deciduous, dark green leaves turn yellow in fall.
Interesting Fact: Squirrels use Carolina silverbell seeds for food and the trees for dens. Its heavy flowering in spring is very attractive to bees, and beekeepers speak highly of the species as an outstanding source for honey.