Carolina Silverbell

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
A tall, skinny tree that is leaning to a sharp angle. It has two large branches holding it up so that it does not fall, however it does not look to be slanted to the point of being uprooted. The branches begin nearer to the top of the tree and are thin and sparce.
Cristina Otero
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
6.30 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.51 m

In older Carolina Silverbells, the bark has a grey-brown color. It is thick, scaly, and rough, with ridges and furrows, the latter forming an irregular set of red streaks throughout the bark. In younger trees, the bark is a red-brown color and has white streaks organized into a roughly diamond pattern.
Twigs & branches
Branching is irregular and begins low on the tree. On this tree, some of the lower branches have been removed, leaving knots on the bark. Branches can be ascending or spreading. In this tree the branches have a spreading pattern to form a round crown. Twigs are reddish-brown or brown and quite smooth. Young shoots on the other hand are light green and soft.
It is a deciduous tree. The leaves are a dark green color and turn yellow-green in the autumn before falling off the tree. They are ovate, simple, with small,thin hairs on the top, and have a finely serrated edge. They grow in an alternate pattern and tend to have a length of about 3-6 inches and a width of about 1-3 inches. They are rounded towards the base and more acute towards the apex.
Reproductive Structures
The Carolina Silverbell has clusters of 3-5 drooping, downward-facing, bell-shaped flowers. They usually sprout between April and May together with unfolding leaves, although in warmer climates can sprout as early as March. They can be anywhere from 1/2 -inch to 3/4-inch long. Flowers have four petals fused at the base and four sepals which form a cup with four ribs and either eight or sixteen stamens with white filaments and yellow anthers.
In the Autumn as the leaves fall, the fruits grow and can last well into winter. These fruits are dark, woody and nutlike, each of which contains a single seed. They are about 1-3 inches long and oblong, star-shaped and four-winged. They start off green in the fall but as they remain on the tree turn a dark brown color.
Natural range of distribution: 
The Carolina Silverbell grows from Central West Virginia to northern Florida and as far west as Oklahoma. It is most commonly found in the southern Appalachian mountains because these tend to be heavily wooded areas dominated by several different deciduous canopy trees, and Carolina Silverbells are understory trees that require a protected environment and soil rich with organic matter. They need light shade and protection from strong winds, as they are relatively soft and can be knocked down or uprooted.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The wood of the Carolina Silverbell is soft and good for crafting. It is often used by woodworkers as a substitute for cherry wood. It is popular as an ornamental tree through out the United States meaning several non-native specimens can be found through out the country for landscaping purposes. They also attract a variety of fauna. Hummingbirds and other small birds are attracted by the flowers, and butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are drawn to its nectar. It also supports the life cycle of about seven diffrent species of catterpillar. 

As a deciduous tree, the Carolina Silverbell loses its leaves in the Fall. In the Spring, it sprouts perfect flowers alongside leaves. The flowers fall off the tree after two to three weeks of having sprouted. In the fall, the fruit of the tree appears and can stay on the tree well into winter. Throughout this time though can fall from the tree and be desseminated. To come out of their dormant stage, the seeds need about 3 months of a warm, moist environment followed by a month of cooler weather.
Media and Arts


Querido arbolito, del tiempo testigo

En las puntes de tus ramillas 

brotan presagios de la primavera

y del estío que no pasaré contigo.

Ya ves, arbolito, que me iré.

Que con besos y lágrimas y risas

empacaré mis libros y mis memorias u chucherías

y de estos lares me despediré. 

¿Y entonces, gentil arbolito, que será de lo compartido,

de las horas bajo un cerúleo espejo celestial

animadas por el olor a lluvia y tierra mojada,

seranados nosotrol dos por dos mirlos en su nido?                                           

Muchacha, amiga pequeña, por este adiós agobiada,

los árboles somos centinelas de las horas transcurridas

y los momentos cuyas memorias humanas ya desvanecidas 

de convierten en un anillo leñoso de nostalgia encarnada.                                         

Amiguita joven, el devenir tuyo y mío,

aunque estemos apartados, será uno el calco del otro.

Nuestras horas juntos se materializarán en mi tronco maciso,

Y nutrirán mis extremos en el frío.                                             

Y tú, joven compañera, quien la vida manda por un nuevo sendero,

no en la memoria sino en el jardín de tu alma,

perdurará la tozuda flor, fruto del habernos conocido,

Y te calentara en el desliento y desasosiego de enero.                              



Dearest little tree, witness of the passing time,

On the tips of your branches 

sprout the harbingers of spring

and of the summer I shall have to spend without you.                                    

You see, little tree, that I am leaving.

That I amidst kisses and tears and laughter

I shall pack up my books and my memories and my things

and say goodbye to these parts.                                          

So, gentle little tree, what shall be of what we have shared?

of the hours under the cerulian mirror,

animated by the smell of rain and wet earth,

serenated, us two, by two robins in their nest.                                     

Little girl, small friend, by this goodbye so weighed down,

us trees are guardians of elapsed time,

and those moments long dissapeared from human memory,

become a woody ring of nostalgia incarnate.

Young friend, your and my transformation 

Even if we are apart, one shall be the reflection of the other.

Our hours together will materialize on my sturdy trunk,

and shall nourish my most distal parts during the cold.                                                

And you, kind companion, who life has put on a new path

not in your memory, but in the garden of your soul,

shall endure the stubborn flower, the fruit of our friendship,

and warm you in the discouragement and unease of January. 

Shrub Canopy Area: