Plant Guide > Trees > Silver Bell and Sweet Leaf

Silver Bell and Sweet Leaf

Silver Bell and Sweet LeafFAMILY STYRACEAE

There are seven genera in the storax family, and few species, scattered over the warmer sections of the north temperate zone. Benzoin and storax, valuable balsams of commerce, are obtained from two species, one in the Molucca Islands, the other in Asia Minor and Europe.


Small trees with slender, pithy, pubescent branchlets and no terminal buds. Leaves simple, alternate, deciduous. Flowers white, bell-shaped, conspicuous. Fruit corky, 2 to 4-winged, 2 to 4-celled, with 1 seed in each cell.


Trees with pithy branchlets, forming open, round head. Leaves half evergreen, simple, alternate, entire, oval. Flowers small, perfect, white, bell shaped in axillary clusters. Fruit a brown berry.

Symplocos is a large genus of trees that grow wild in Australia and in the tropics of Asia and America. Many species belonging to British India yield important dyes and drugs. A species from Japan has recently created a stir in horticultural circles in this country.

It has profuse white flowers that look like those of the hawthorns, hence its name, S. crataegoides. These racemed flowers give place to berries which turn on ripening to a brilliant blue, which make the shrubby tree a most striking and beautiful object in a garden in the fall. The only American representative of this genus is a little tree.

Silver Bell or Snowdrop Tree
Sweet Leaf or Horse Sugar Tree