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Pterostyrax Corymbosa commonly called the Epaulette Tree, is a charming small deciduous tree, rare in the UK but well worth planting in your garden. Its fragrant white flowers in spring and its autumn foliage colour give it a long season of interest.
Native to Japan, Pterostyrax Corymbosa was introduced to the UK in 1850, where it is grown as a large shrub or small tree. In May and June, it produces large panicles of drooping bell-shaped fragrant white flowers, which give it its common name Epaulette Tree. They are followed in autumn by oval, 5-winged fruits. The large, ovate leaves, semi-glossy, are a medium green above and silvery green underneath, and turn a golden yellow in autumn, with shades of red and orange in very acid soils. In winter, the aromatic, peeling bark of the bare branches provides visual interest.
Pterostyrax Corymbosa is hardy in most locations in the UK, even in severe winters, and will grow to a mature height of 5 metres and spread of 4 metres in 10 years. If desired, prune immediately after flowering as it flowers on last season’s wood. Plant Pterostyrax Corymbosa in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position with an east, south or west-facing aspect in fertile, moist, well-drained sand, loam or clay soil with an acid to neutral pH. It will not tolerate chalky soils. It will flower best in a hot, sunny spot, and the best autumn foliage colour is obtained on acid soil, and it will tolerate quite acid soil.
This lovely little tree is perfectly suited to gardens large and small! Tolerant of shade, Pterostyrax Corymbosa will grow happily under the canopy of larger trees, and is especially suited to the understory of conifers because of its preference for acid soil. The Epaulette Tree makes an excellent background shrub or tree for a mixed border, where it will provide a leafy backdrop for flowering plants once its own blossom show ends in early summer. Plant where you can appreciate the lovely scent as well as the sight of the flowers, or add to a woodland or wildlife garden where bees and butterflies will be attracted to its blooms. Rare but lovely, Pterostyrax Corymbosa is a charming addition to your garden, whether large or small!