Botanical Name: Poliothyrsis sinensis
Common Name: Chinese Pearlbloom Tree
Origin: Central China
Notable Feature: A tree noted for its ivory-colored clusters of fragrant flowers that blanket the clean, green foliage. Blooming occurs in late summer when few other trees offer flower competition.
Habit: A small, deciduous tree reaching 30 to 40 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Gray bark develops interesting furrows with age.
Flower: Tiny, fragrant, creamy white flowers without petals are clustered in 6 to 8-inch, multi-branched panicles arising near the reddish stem tips in August into September. Flower buds open only slightly giving a pearl-shaped appearance. The flowers are perfect (bisexual).
Fruit: Downy capsules, ½ to ¾” long, contain numerous, winged seeds.
Foliage: Cordate, alternate leaves, 3 to 7” long, are bronze in spring, mature to emerald green, and turn yellow to yellowish burgundy in fall.
Interesting Fact: This rare, small tree is native to the evergreen and deciduous forests of eastern and central China. Legendary plant collector E. H. Wilson first introduced this tree to U.S. gardens in 1908 by bringing seed from China to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston.