California Snowdrop Bush

California snowdrop bush (Styrax redivivus) is a native shrub endemic to California. It can grow up to eight feet in height and is found at elevations below 5,000 feet. California snowdrop bush inhabits dry, rocky slopes in the woodlands and chaparral of the inland hills surrounding California’s Central Valley and southern mountains.

The alternate, deciduous, simple, round, green leaves of California snowdrop bush may have hairs on their lower surface or may be hairless. The inflorescence is a cluster of a few droopy flowers. The flowers somewhat resemble orange blossoms – borne on pedicels (stalks), 4 to 10 white petals (commonly 6), many stamens (usually 10 to 16) fused at the base and 5 sepals united into a bell-like calyx. The ovary is 3 to 5 celled at the base and has 1 cell at the top. The fruits are round capsules surrounded at the base by the persistent calyx. The fruit usually splits into 3 valves revealing seeds that resemble small nuts.

Originally California snowdrop bush was considered a variety of Styrax officinalis, snowdrop bushes native to Europe and the Middle East from which an ancient herbal medicine, styrax, was derived. But recent DNA determinations have resulted in California snowdrop bush being designated a separate species.

These specimens were growing along the Flanagan Trail near Redding CA (Shasta County).

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