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Shrub or tree to 9 m. Branchlets blackish brown with some stellate hairs. Leaves 4–10(–20) × 2.5–7(–12) cm, elliptic to ovate or obovate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface silvery grey, densely to finely tomentose, margins entire or minutely serrate towards the apex, apex acute to acuminate; petiole 0.4–0.9 cm long, pubescent. Inflorescences terminal, racemose, 5–15 cm long, with 5–20 flowers, or sometimes flowers solitary. Flowers ~2 cm long; calyx obscurely five-toothed, densely grey-pubescent, corolla tubular, lobes elliptic, downy, stamens as long as corolla. Fruit globose, 0.7–0.9 cm diameter, tomentose. Flowering March to April (USA). (Spongberg 1976, Gonsoulin 1974).
Distribution United States Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
Habitat Woodland on wet or preferably well-drained sandy soils.
USDA Hardiness Zone 7
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
Styrax grandifolius has more potential than presence in gardens, at least in the southeastern United States, where it tolerates the summer heat better than most other Styrax (Raulston 1991, 1992). Images available on the internet suggest that its inflorescences are often partly concealed by the developing large leaves, but that when in full flower it is an attractive sight. Raulston (1992) noted that it performs much better in cultivation than in the wild, flowering being enhanced by improved light. It seems unlikely to be a great success in areas with cooler summers.