Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: American Snowdrop Tree, Two-wing Silverbell
Halesia diptera 'Magniflora'

Family: Styracaceae (sty-ra-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Halesia (HAYLZ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: diptera (DIP-ter-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Magniflora

Synonym:Halesia diptera var. magniflora

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4 members have or want this plant for trade.


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15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
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)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On May 30, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A graceful small rounded tree, naturally low-branched and often multistemmed.

As the pictures indicate, its show of precocious bloom is the equal of any other hardy flowering tree. It is more floriferous than Halesia tetraptera, whose attractions are a little too subtle for many people but is much more widely planted. Unlike that tree, H. diptera var. magniflora has bloom extending to the tips of the branches. It blooms in late May/early June here in Boston Z6a, before it starts to leaf out----a week or two after H. tetraptera, and coinciding with Cornus kousa.

Its late leafing out in spring makes it a good tree for underplanting with spring bulbs and ephemerals.

An understory tree native to the southeastern US, it's found on moist streambanks in the wild, but does well in cultivation with average but consistent moisture---it will suffer during drought without supplemental water. Dirr gives its hardiness range as Z(4)5 to 8b.

This is a botanical variety that comes true from seed. It is not a cultivar. Michael Dirr was unable to root this from cuttings, and I suspect that it's the need for growing this tree from seed that's kept it out of mass production. He also reports that it does not transplant well balled-and-burlapped, and that for commercial production it is much better container grown.

At least this tree has the virtue of growing moderately quickly and flowering in three to five years from seed.

In 1995, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society gave this tree its Gold Medal Plant Award.

This extraordinary tree deserves to be much more widely planted.

Positive amscram On Apr 2, 2014, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had this tree for about 12 years and it has developed into quite a show-stopper when it blooms - it's now nearly 20 feet high. One thing to keep in mind - it casts a pretty dense shade. The Bletilla orchids I had planted underneath it no longer bloom due to the lack of light. Need to move them...

Positive ViburnumValley On Feb 5, 2006, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Large-flowered silverbell is one of the unsung heroes of the spring landscape. It is little known and grown simply because it flowers at the same time as flowering dogwood and many other commonly planted spring bloomers. Be different, and give this small tree a try!

A vigorous grower, easily stretching 18-24" of new growth in ordinary soils and normal rainfall, this plant drenches itself in bloom annually. The flattened two-winged seeds form later in the summer and are a positive ID feature. Yellows are the common fall color.


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

San Francisco, California
Decatur, Georgia
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Carriere, Mississippi

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