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, 11⁄2 to 4 in. wide; oval or obovate, wedge-shaped at the base, pointed, toothed, covered beneath with fine whitish down or nearly glabrous; stalk 1⁄2 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, 1⁄3 in. long. Stamens, flower-stalks, and calyx downy. Fruits spindle-shaped, 1⁄2 in. long, terminated by the persistent calyx-lobes and style, the whole densely clothed with pale brown hairs 1⁄12 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 1⁄2 in. long, 3⁄8 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.