Pterostyrax hispidus - Fragrant Epaulettetree
Family - Styracaceae
Size - 25 to 30 feet in height with a spread equal to height. Rounded, tear drop in shape. Branches low to the base and generally is seen in this form. Not commonly seen as a single trunked specimen. Medium rate of growth.
Foliage - Can be large, ranging in length from 3 to 7 inches and 2 to 4 inches in width. Oblong in shape, acuminate apex. Light green, silvery beneath. Fall color is a yellow-green, fairly negligible.
Flower/Fruit/Seed - Flowers are clusters of 5-10" pendulous panicles, creamy white, fragrant. Scent is reminiscent of Sweetbay Magnolia upon opening and Honeysuckle at end of flowering cycle. Not overpowering, one of those scents that makes one wonder, "Where is that smell coming from?" Individual flowers are small, 1/4 to 1/3", appearing after the leaves.
Bark - Gray, peeling in thin threads, particularly on the branches.
Pests and Diseases - None noticed.
Landscape Use - Good potential for the home and commercial landscape. Is very little known, even among the trade. The flowers are very attractive and the fragrance is a nice addition to the landscape. Could possibly be used in planters as it has a very fibrous root system.
Performance - 9 This tree deserves much more attention than it receives. Rated to zone 4 it is very cold hardy in top and root system. Epaulettetree, which I grew from seed were left potbound in 5 gallon containers and they survived the entire 95-96 winter exposed. We experienced below 0 temperatures and a late season warm up of 70s and 80s which pushed many trees in to bud swell. Following this was a 65 degree swing in the opposite direction (low teens) which caused a great deal of damage to other plants. The Epaulettetrees came through virtually unscathed except for some minor tip kill. It also seems to do well in the humid heat of the summer in this region. It's fibrous root system lends it to being grown and transplanted easily in container or B&B in large sizes. It can be rooted from cuttings easily. A tremendously strong grower. I have always had a strange affinity to this tree as it is so attractive yet so underused.