Pterostyrax hispida – Fragrant Epaulette Tree

  • A remarkable sight when in full bloom, this Epaulette Tree is often just a large shrub and barely grows into a tree, often multi-trunked and spreading. Strong scented flowers develop in long, drooping pendulous clusters in early Summer when there are fewer flowering trees and shrubs are around. Flowers hang from one side and resemble the epaulettes found on some military uniforms – hence its common name. The grey-brown aromatic bark has a pattern of grooves and flakes off in platelets. The twigs start out hairy but are later bare. The large, ovoid to oval leaves are tapered with different green colours on both sides. The fruits appear very hairy, hanging drupes, that persist into Winter, providing ornamental interest.

  • The genus name comes from the Greek words pteron meaning a wing plus Styrax for the winged seeds of one species that looks like those of Styrax. 
  • Pterostyrax prefers neutral to slightly acid, well-drained soil but it can also take calcareous soils. The plant is relatively drought tolerant and flowers well in Britain. Fully hardy (to about -20C).
    Excellent quality, 10-15cm tall plant in an 8cm square pot.

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