tree grows best in the Great Smoky Mountains but extends throughout
the mountain region and the upper Piedmont. The tree rarely reaches
heights greater than 80 feet and diameters 2 feet. It only grows
large enough for commercial use in the most favorable locations.
Carolina silverbell commonly is found along upper water courses
as an understory tree. It occasionally is planted as an ornamental
Leaves are simple, alternate, oval, pointed, thin and finely toothed.
They vary in length from 3 to 5 inches. The bark ranges in color
from very light gray in young trees to a very dark reddish brown
in old trees. It separates into scales and strips as the tree
The flowers are white (sometimes tinged with pink) and nearly
an inch long. They appear in early spring with the unfolding of
the leaves. Carolina silverbell, which is also known as the snowdrop
tree, may get its name from its pendant, bell-like flowers.
The fruit is 1 to 2 inches long and nearly an inch wide, with
a corky, four-winged covering. The solitary seed is a bony stone.
The heartwood is soft and light cherry-colored streaked with white;
the sapwood is white or creamy. When large enough, it is cut for
lumber and used as a substitute for cherry.