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Bell-shaped flowers of silverbell.

Silverbell is a medium-sized tree that produces white bell-shaped flowers in spring. The flowers are followed by dry fruits with four wings. This tree may be difficult to find in nurseries.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Halesia carolina

All common names:

silverbell, Carolina silverbell, small-flowered silverbell

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

30-40 feet

Mature Width:

20-35 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Wet sites,
  • Clay soil

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Intolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Persistent fruit/seeds,
  • Showy fruit,
  • Showy flowers,
  • Attractive bark

Seasons of Interest:

  • mid spring,
  • late spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Insect pollinators,
  • Small mammals

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Grows in full sun to partial shade in a moist, well-drained, acidic soil.Chlorosis may occur on high pH soils.
Twigs may be killed in severe winters.
Prune after flowering in the spring.

Disease, pests and problems

Not tolerant of salt or compacted soils.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Silverbell (Halesia carolina)
Silverbell (Halesia carolina) fruit
photo: John Hagstrom

Native to the southeastern United States.

Bark color and texture 

Attractive, smooth, gray bark with creamy-white striping.Bark on twigs exfoliates slightly in fine silvery shreds.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves, 2 to 5 inches long with an elliptic shape.
Margins slightly serrate.
Dark green summer color changing to an attractive yellow or yellow-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Pendulous, white, bell-shaped flowers in clusters of up to five.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed 

Flowers are followed by a dry, 4-winged brown fruit in the fall.

Cultivars and their differences

Crushed Velvet™ Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina 'JFS-PN2Legacy'):  This cultivar has smaller leaves with a wavy texture.  It is a more compact tree growing 20 feet high and 15 feet wide.

Pink-flowered Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina 'Rosea'): Pink flowers.

Rosy Ridge Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina 'Rosy Ridge'): Pink flowers and slightly faster growth rate.

Uconn Wedding Bells Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina 'Uconn Wedding Bells'):  Larger flowers on a smaller tree (20 feet high).

Location of Halesia carolina (Silverbell) at the Arboretum