Shrub 1–2.5(–6) m. Branchlets densely covered with greyish yellow or yellow-brown stellate tomentum when young, glabrescent later. Leaves papery, 3.5–7(–9.5) × 2–4.5 cm, elliptic to obovate, upper surface stellate-pubescent, lower surface densely covered with white stellate tomentum with scattered orange or brown hairs especially on the veins, five to six secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins serrulate towards the apex, apex acute to acuminate, base rounded to broadly cuneate; petiole 0.1–0.3 cm long. Inflorescences borne on current season’s shoots, lateral or pseudoterminal, the latter 1–2 cm long with two to three (to four) flowers; pedicels 0.3–0.4 cm long. Flowers 1.5–2.0 cm long; calyx with white appressed hairs externally, densely yellow-brown to orange tomentose inside, teeth rather uneven; corolla to 1.4 cm, tube 0.4 cm, lobes five, 0.9–1.1 cm, elliptic to ovate-elliptic. Fruit globose, 1–1.5 cm diameter, rugose, densely pubescent, splitting by way of three valves. Flowering March to April, fruiting August to October (China). (Hwang & Grimes 1996; Huang et al. 2003).
Distribution China southern Sichuan, northwest Yunnan
Habitat Forests between 1700 and 2400 m asl
USDA Hardiness Zone 8
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
With Styrax limprichtii, horticultural experience and botanical records are again divergent, the low shrub in the wild becoming much taller in gardens (up to c. 6 m), though remaining multistemmed through the production of suckers. It is, however, capable of flowering when only 30–60 cm tall, and is an ideal species for small gardens. The abundant flowers contrast well with the light green foliage, and like its relative S. wilsonii it fruits prolifically (Hudson 2004). It seems able to tolerate drier conditions than most species, occuring in the wild on dry banks (Hudson, T. pers. comm. 2007), and has a limited presence in British gardens.