Styrax japonicus – Japanese Snowbell

Botanical Name: Styrax japonicus

Alternate Name: Japanese Snowdrop

The Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus) is an elegant, small deciduous tree. It is prized for its clusters of delicate, hanging bell-shaped flowers that cover the tree in late spring and early summer. This tree originates in China, Japan, and Korea. Its canopy is rounded, with a compact growth and horizontal branching. It grows to a height and spread of 20-30 feet but under optimal conditions can grow to 50 feet tall.

The blooms of the Japanese Snowbell appear in May or June. The profusion of fragrant, white, pendulous, bell-shaped flowers with bright yellow anthers provides a show-stopping display. This is accentuated by the upward growing leaves that allow the flowers to be seen in all their glory.

The fruits that follow the flowers are drupes, approximately ½ inches in size. They are greenish-brown and can persist late into the fall. The leaves are glossy and grow up to 3 inches long. They are thinly elliptical to oval in shape and medium to dark green. The fall color can be unremarkable, but sometimes the leaves will turn bright yellow and red.

The bark of the Japanese Snowbell tree is gray with deep furrows on more mature trees. These can expose the orange inner bark providing a display on the winter silhouette – giving the tree seasonal interest after the leaves have dropped.

Not susceptible to any significant diseases or pests. This tree can be slow to establish.


Height: 20-30 ft.
Width: 20-30 ft.
Shape: Rounded
Flower Color: White
Flowering Time: May-June
Fall Color: Yellow, Red
Features: Showy fragrant flowers, winter interest
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Watering: Moderate & Regular
Soil: Prefers acidic, rich, moist, well-drained soils.
Growth Rate: Slow
USDA Zones: 5-9
Uses: Accent tree, lawn tree, Japanese/Asian gardens, woodland gardens
Similar Trees: Moonglow® Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana ‘Jim Wilson’), Spring Snow Crabapple (Malus ‘Spring Snow’), Milky Way Dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Milky Way’)Venus Dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Venus’), Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia), Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’)

Additional information



Flower Color


Flowering Time

June, May

Fall Color

Red, Yellow

Growth Rate



Accent Tree, Asian-themed Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Lawn Tree, Woodland Gardens

USDA Zones

5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Mature Height


Mature Width



Full Sun, Partial Shade

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