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Pterostyrax hispida Sieb. & Zucc.

Modern name

Pterostyrax hispidus Siebold & Zucc.


Halesia hispida (Sieb. & Zucc.) Mast.

A deciduous shrub 15 to 20 ft high, or a tree up to 30 or 40 ft high, of coarse, vigorous growth and spreading habit; young shoots glabrous. Leaves alternate, 3 to 8 in. long, 112 to 4 in. wide; oval or obovate, wedge-shaped at the base, pointed, toothed, covered beneath with fine whitish down or nearly glabrous; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Flowers white, fragrant, produced during June and July on axillary, downy, pendulous panicles, 4 to 9 in. long, 2 to 3 in. wide, with often two or three leaves at the base. Corolla of five oval lobes, divided almost to the base, finely downy on both sides, 13 in. long. Stamens, flower-stalks, and calyx downy. Fruits spindle-shaped, 12 in. long, terminated by the persistent calyx-lobes and style, the whole densely clothed with pale brown hairs 112 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 8329.

Native of Japan and China; introduced in 1875. This beautiful and distinct tree is very hardy and flowers almost every year, but most profusely when the preceding summer and autumn have been hot. It needs a good loamy soil and a sunny position. Seed is ripened occasionally, and this affords the simplest and best means of propagation.

P. corymbosa Sieb. & Zucc. Halesia corymbosa (Sieb. & Zucc.) Nichols. – The true species of this name is very clearly distinguished from P. hispida by its fruits, which are 12 in. long, 38 in. wide, five-winged (not merely ribbed as in P. hispida), and covered with a very close down (not hairy). The panicles are broader, and there is some difference in the foliage, the leaves of P. corymbosa being smaller, up to 5 in. long. Native of Japan. It has been so little cultivated that nothing useful can be said about it as a garden plant. Most of the plants that have been grown under its name are really P. hispida.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

P. corymbosa – This species is in cultivation at the University of Washington Arboretum, Seattle, where two plants received in 1957 had made single-stemmed trees 32 and 40 ft high by 1980. They flower somewhat earlier than P. hispida (Arboretum Bulletin, Vol. 44(1), p. 7 (1981)).

† P. psilophylla Perkins – Described in 1907 from a flowering specimen collected by Wilson in western Hupeh, this differs from P. hispida (as does P. corymbosa) in its shorter leaves and panicles. It was introduced to Kew in 1963 from the Peking Botanic Garden and can be seen there near the Victoria Gate and at Wakehurst Place, Sussex. Its main interest is that it flowers ten days to a fortnight earlier than P. hispida. The largest specimen in the Kew annexe at Wakehurst Place, planted in its permanent position in Westwood Valley in 1970, grows vigorously and is about 26 ft high, with somewhat ascending branches (1986). This introduction, the taxonomic status of which is uncertain, received an Award of Merit when exhibited from Wakehurst on 14 June 1983.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]