Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Pearl-Bloom Tree
Poliothyrsis sinensis

Family: Flacourtiaceae
Genus: Poliothyrsis (po-lee-oh-THUR-sis ) (Info)
Species: sinensis (sy-NEN-sis) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jun 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A rare but attractive small flowering tree of upright, open habit. It may not win a popularity contest against a crabapple, redbud, or flowering dogwood, but it makes a nice garden-scale small tree. It's tough, adaptable about soil, and once established it's quite drought tolerant. The specimens in the Arnold Arboretum have no significant pests or diseases.

A friend received a rooted cutting for becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, and I grew it on for a few years before giving it back to him. It's grown quickly into an attractive tree.

The flowers may not outcompete a flowering cherry's, but they're pretty and make a significant contribution to the August-September garden. I'd call them a very pale creamy yellow. They are mildly and sweetly fragrant. They bloom in big 6-8" clusters (corymbose panicles) on new wood at the ends of the branches.

The dried, open seedpods are strikingly ornamental and hold well through the winter. They would make a good dried contribution to flower arrangements.

I too have noticed the purplish tints to the glossy new leaves, which they hold for a long time before fading. As the tree continues to produce new leaves through the summer, the purple tints continue too. Fall color is a good yellow.

I think this works better than the widely promoted Heptacodium as a small garden tree. Its shade isn't as dense, and it's very late to leaf out, so spring ephemerals can happily grow underneath it. (Heptacodium leafs out early, and in my garden it shaded out all the spring bulbs.)

Dirr gives its hardiness as Z6-7. I'm not convinced that the hardiness limits of this rare species have been accurately determined. Certainly it has never shown any dieback for me in Z6a, and it's thrived in the Arnold Arboretum (Z6a) for over 30 years.

Positive dreamgreen On Oct 23, 2010, dreamgreen from Weaverville, NC wrote:

I love this tree. I got a 1 gallion size plant from Woodlanders Nursery in December of 2007 and it is now about 9 feet tall. I consider that fast growth. In my garden in western North Carolina [zone 7A/6B] it's leaves appear near the end of April. Attractive flower buds appear in the last half of May and begin to open in July. The flowers, borne in panicles, are cream colored and are individually quite small. The thing I really love about the tree is it's gorgeous foliage. The leaves are large and leaves at the branch ends have a beautiful burgundy tint which is maintained throughout the season -- quite show stopping. Their fall color is a yellow burgundy. My tree is in full sun and exposed to wind on soil that is average to dry.I've gardened both personally and professionally for 3 decades and have never seen another tree even close in appearance. Highly recommend. For more info try this link


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Roslindale, Massachusetts
Weaverville, North Carolina

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