Styrax obassia (Fragrant Snowbell)

Styrax obassia (Fragrant Snowbell) is a stunning small tree or large shrub that offers a multi-seasonal display of beauty and interest.

Styrax Obassia (fragrant Snowbell)

Here are the key features and care guidelines for this remarkable plant:


  • Fragrant Snowbell is known for its showy, pendulous racemes of fragrant, bell-shaped, glistening white flowers.
  • The flowers appear in late spring to early summer, creating a striking display despite flowering after the leaves have fully emerged.
  • The golden-yellow stamens within the flowers add a touch of contrast and elegance.
  • The large, dark green leaves are broadly ovate or rounded in shape. They transition to a vibrant golden yellow in the fall.
  • The smooth gray bark of older specimens exfoliates, revealing orange-brown vertical fissures that provide winter interest.

Size and Growth Habit:

  • Fragrant Snowbell grows slowly to a height of 20-30 feet (6-9 meters) and a width of 15-25 feet (4-8 meters).
  • Its rounded habit and stunning flowers make it an excellent choice for small trees or large shrubs.

Cultural Requirements:

  • This plant prefers full sun to part shade.
  • It thrives in moist, humus-rich, fertile, and well-drained soils.
  • When planting, consider providing a site sheltered from cold, dry winds.
  • Once established, Fragrant Snowbell only requires occasional watering during the summer months.

Landscape Uses:

  • Fragrant Snowbell is versatile and can serve as a specimen plant in a variety of garden settings.
  • It’s a great choice for beds, borders, and cottage gardens.
  • Woodland gardens can benefit from the delicate beauty of this tree.
  • Its fragrant flowers and lovely foliage make it an ideal choice for enhancing the visual appeal of patios.

Pest and Disease Resistance:

  • This plant is virtually pest and disease-free, making it relatively low-maintenance.

Pruning and Propagation:

  • Pruning can be done in winter to control the tree’s shape and promote healthy growth.
  • Propagation can be achieved through seed or softwood cuttings.

Native Range:

  • Fragrant Snowbell is native to Japan.

In summary, Styrax obassia (Fragrant Snowbell) is a captivating tree that offers a delightful combination of fragrant flowers, vibrant foliage, and interesting bark. Its adaptability to various garden settings, low maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal make it a valuable addition to gardens seeking year-round beauty.