10 responses to “Pterostyrax hispidus”

  1. Marilyn Brown

    It’s a perfectly lovely photograph — breathtaking !

  2. Michael

    A beautiful small tree though probably less so than shown in this spectacularly backlit photograph. I have a 20 year old Styrax japonica which is also beautiful with delicate pendant clusters of white flowers in early summer.
    It seems odd to have gender designation to a whole species and it would be confusing in those species having separate species of individuals. A female individual of a male species?
    As an aside, it is convenient to learners of English not to have to learn the useless genders assigned to inanimate objects as occurs in most other Germanic languages. One wonders why this happened in the development of a language.

    1. Pat Collins

      Parthenogenetic lizard species that only consist of females may have zoologic binomials that are masculine, like Cnemidophorus neomexicanus. I think of it as a “boy named Sue” situation.

      As a Victorian zookeeper answered when asked by a visitor “Is that a lady hippopotamus or a gentleman hippopotamus?”,
      “That, madam, is a matter that should only be of concern to another hippopotamus.”

  3. Sue

    An image of a whole tree can be seen here:
    It sounds like it has this characteristic in common with the Styrax Japonica tree I know: “spread of the branches that nearly equals the height of the tree.” These trees really love growing horizontally.

  4. Wendy Cutler

    I wonder if the gender of snowbell trees mentioned by the previous two posters was originally considered female. These are a lot of mentions of its being called Styrax japonica, but all the current references to it are Styrax japonicus, so the masculine name, as for Pterostyrax.

  5. Roberta Kurtz

    Pineapple Guava, Jojoba, and probably other species, have different genders, male and female.

  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Pterostyrax and Styrax, have bisexual flowers. The issue is the gender of the name, not the sex of the plant. This entry has kicked off a little clean-up of the taxonomy for this group in our database. There was debate about the gender of the word styrax and names were often described with the feminine endings at one time. Since the publication of The Masculine Gender of the Generic Name Styrax Linnaeus (Styracaceae), (Nicolson, Dan H.; George C. Steyskal. Taxon Vol. 25, No. 5/6. (Nov., 1976): 581-587.) the name is treated as masculine.

    Plants with distinct genders, that is with male and female flowers on separate plants are called dioecious.

    1. Wendy Cutler

      Thanks, Eric. I was pretty sure I was wording my comment incorrectly, but couldn’t figure out a way around it. I remember how excited I was when I first saw these at UBCBG in 2008 and posted a query for the ID of the tree with the small white fuzzy things (which turned out to have two labels – should have been enough).

      I’ve tried so many times to get a photo like this one, never come close.

  7. lynn

    A new tree to me – and I like the idea of a tree that spreads that wide. Beautiful photograph with the back-lighting!

  8. F. Joseph Peabody

    The Taxon article considered, however tree gender has usually been considered feminine: as in Quercus alba, Fraxinus americana, Fagus americana, etc. Even though the generic name termination (-us) would prescribe a masculine epithet (albus, americanus) the feminine ending (-a) is used. I vote for Pterostyrax hispida.

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