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PlantFiles: Fragrant Styrax, Fragrant Snowbell
Styrax obassia

Family: Styracaceae (sty-ra-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Styrax (STY-raks) (Info)
Species: obassia

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


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

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ViburnumValley On Jun 7, 2009, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Fragrant snowbell is a fine small to medium size tree for the middle part of the US. I have planted and grown this species since the mid 1980s here in central KY, and I like it every place it has been grown. Give it moisture through drought times and the slightly acidic soil it craves (between pH 5.0 - 7.0 is probably best), and you will be rewarded with the beautiful bouquets of flowers annually around early May. That's Derby time 'round here.

Extending the possibilities, I've observed exceptional plants of Styrax obassia in farther flung environments like the great collections in Durand-Eastman Park in Rochester NY, and the US National Arboretum in Washington DC. These are much older plants, and if seen will make one wonder why it isn't already in one's own landscape.

Give this tree a try - the smooth gray bark on twisting branches, rounded larger leaves, slightly exfoliating young stems (excellent ID feature), and of course the fragrant white clusters of pendulous flowers - and you will enjoy the show.


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

Washington, District Of Columbia
Tucker, Georgia
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Millbrook, New York
Rochester, New York
Weaverville, North Carolina
Cottage Grove, Oregon

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