Styrax Obassi Or Fragrant Snowbell: Bell-Shaped, Fragrant Flowers Add Interest

Styrax Obassi Or Fragrant Snowbell: Bell-Shaped, Fragrant Flowers Add Interest

Styrax Obassi

Photo Compliments of Autan

Styrax obassi or fragrant snowbell is a small, slender, upright tree, or large shrub, with ascending branches and rounded crown. Under ideal conditions it will reach a height of 20 to 30 feet. Bell-shaped, fragrant, white flowers with showy yellow stamens appear in pendulous, terminal racemes (up to 8 inches in length) in May to June (this is somewhat late for trees). Flowers are often partially obscured by the large, velvety, oval-rounded, medium green leaves (up to 8 inches in length). Flowers give way to drupes which may persist into late autumn. Smooth gray bark peels away on the trunks of older trees revealing an attractive orange inner layer and resulting winter interest. Fall color is a pale yellow.

How To Make Styrax Obassi Thrive

This attractive small tree thrives in medium moisture, acidic, organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prune in winter to control shape, as the plant ages it will become more open. If you are planting fragrant snowball in Zone 5 it needs to be in a protected location. This plant leafs out in early spring: To avoid early-frost damage, site in a north-facing exposure.

General Styrax Obassi Information

Pests and Diseases

No serious insect or disease problems for Styrax obassi.  Flower buds and foliage are susceptible to late winter or early spring frost damage.


Take greenwood cuttings in summer.

Garden Uses

Fragrant Snowbell works in a shrub border, as an understory tree, or as a focal point in your landscape. It is grown for its fragrant floral displays and the bolder foliage. The best results are when you mix this into plantings of fine textured small trees or large shrubs.

Quick Information

  • Family: Styracaceae
  • Plant Type: Pyramidal tree
  • Foliage Type: Deciduous, ovate and alternate
  • Plant Height: 20 to 30 feet
  • Plant Width: 20 to 30 feet
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5 to 8
  • Bloom Time: May to June
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Bark: Gray brown bark color, vertical fissures, mostly smooth
  • Light Exposure: Full sun to light shade
  • Water Requirements: Regular watering
  • Great Color Contrasts: Burgundy, gold, bronze
  • Great Color Partners: White, dark green, variegated
  • Common Name: Fragrant snowbell
  • Maintenance: Medium

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