What tree is it?

This one is growing right near my new house entrance. Didn’t see any fruit on it last year. We moved in on July 31 of 2022.


Based on pl@ntnet, its best guess is a crab apple of some sort.
Malus baccata has highest match %

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Limb structure and bark look wrong for crab apple. Is the tree evergreen.

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No, not evergreen, zone 6 a

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Are you sure it’s a fruit tree? to me it looks ornamental.

Not sure at all, just try to figure out what it is

Checked Malus baccata. It is 100% match to another tree growing at my place, and that tree is very different from the one in question.

Okay I’m just going to guess, some type of Magnolia.

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I think I found one pretty close to what I see: Japanese Snowbell . But I need to wait until they start opening flowers to confirm.


Your flowers have a distinct and long, pointed sepal, but the pictures I find online of Japanese Snowbell does not. Also some of your flowers don’t appear draping (or weeping) like a bell.

Also is the flower stinky or fragrant?

They are not open yet, but as of now very very light fragrant. Yes, I can see it is not exact match… I guess I need to wait for flowers to open.


Hope it smells fragrant, since it’s going to be first smell out that door : )


So far, the only sharp and pointed sepals I can find are on crabapples family, so if it is, the scent of your flowers should be fragrant.

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Than, they should be biannual, because last year I didn’t see any fruit on this tree.

I see the similarity, but if it’s starting to bloom now, I’m going to guess that it’s more likely to be Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina) than Styrax japonica (which I believe blooms more in May/June in our area).

I could be totally wrong, of course!

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Actually, I was looking at the flowering time and it didn’t match Japanese snowbells. Let me look at Carolina Silverbell. The bark looks very similar!

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The “bell” type trees do not have sharp sepals and all the flowers of the tree are draping (facing down). Also I read those bell trees are not super cold hardy so I doubt they want to plant them in NE.

Halesia Carolina

The range of little silverbells is very restricted. It is principally in the panhandle of Florida, with isolated smaller outlier populations in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi.

Styrax Japonicus

It is hardy down to −15 °C (5 °F), but prefers a sheltered position in full sun or dappled shade, with acidic or neutral soil.[2]

Would it be possible for you to reach out to the previous owner? If you can, they may have the answer for you. Or, maybe, their relatives who still live in the area may know.

Whatever it is, it seems like a nice tree with pretty flowers. If the flowers are fragrant, that is a plus.

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I concur it’s definitely not a crabapple. At this stage the flowers are somewhat suggestive of some type of Magnolia, and the bark is smooth, but appears to have lenticles, which don’t occur on any magnolia I’ve ever seen.

Halesia (silverbell) is a good guess. This is a bit of an awkward stage to ID, because the flowers aren’t open. If it is Halesia, the flowers will hang, and you’ll wind up with unmistakable clusters of fruits that look like this:

I am growing some Halesia here in S. Vermont and it seems hardy here based on ~5 or 6 yrs growth. An acquaintance in town (I’m in the stocks) has a good sized tree near her house. And I’ve seen a couple of large specimens on college campuses not too far from me.

I think Styrax japonica is the most likely based on appearance. I’m not really familiar enough to be a good judge, but the flower form and leaf veination seem like a good match.