Stewartia rostrata Spongberg

TSO logo


Kindly sponsored by a member of the International Dendrology Society.

International Dendrology Society logo


Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Stewartia rostrata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-27.



  • Stewartia glabra S. Z. Yan
  • S. sinensis Rehder &
  • E. H. Wilson var. rostrata (Spongberg) Hung T. Chang.


Dry dehiscent fruit; formed from syncarpous ovary.
Narrowing gradually to a point.
Sharply pointed.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lying flat against an object.
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
Fused together with a similar part. (Cf. adnate.)
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Stalk of a single flower.
Leaf stalk.
Covered in hairs.
With saw-like teeth at edge. serrulate Minutely serrate.
(in a flower) The part of the carpel that receives pollen and on which it germinates. May be at the tip of a short or long style or may be reduced to a stigmatic surface at the apex of the ovary.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.
Covered in long shaggy hairs.


There are currently no active references in this article.


Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Stewartia rostrata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-27.

Deciduous shrub or tree, to 10 m, often multi-stemmed from the base. Bark greyish-brown, finely furrowed; branches ascending; bark on first year twigs not exfoliating; winter buds compressed, ca. 5 mm, with 2 or 3 finely pubescent imbricate scales. Leaves (2–)6–10.5 × (1.2–)2.5–4.5 cm, ovate to elliptic, papery, glabrous above with prominent midrib, sparsely appressed villous below, especially on veins, with tufts of hairs in vein axils, margin serrate, apex acute, base rounded; petiole (2–)4–6(–9) mm, shallowly grooved above. Flowers solitary; pedicel 5–7 mm; bracteoles persistent, subopposite, subtending calyx, ovate, (1.2–)1.5–2 × (0.6–)0.8–1.2 cm, leaf-like, margin irregularly undulating, apex acuminate; sepals 5, persistent, similar to bracteoles, ovate, obovate, or orbicular, 1.2–1.8 × 0.7–1 cm, basally connate, margin irregularly undulating, apex acute to rounded; corolla white, lobes obovate to suborbicular, 2.8–3.8 × 2–3 cm, outside finely silky-hairy, margin erose; filaments to 2.5 cm, joined at the base into a 6–8 mm tube and fused to the corolla, pubescent; ovary rounded, densely silky-hairy at base, glabrous above; style 1.6–1.8 cm, glabrous, terminating in a 5-lobed stigma. Capsule subglobose, 1.2–1.6 × 1.4–1.6 cm, apex rostrate. Seeds narrowly winged. Flowering May-July (China). Min & Bartholomew 2007
Distribution CHINA; Anhui, Henan, Hubei, eastern Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang
Habitat forests, especially along streams, 600–1500 m asl
USDA Hardiness Zone 6–7
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Not evaluated
Taxonomic note S. rostrata is said to be sold in Europe under the name S. gemmata, a synonym of S. sinensis.

Stewartia rostrata was recognised as distinct only in the early 1970s when Stephen Spongberg realised that two distinct entities were growing in the Arnold Arboretum under the name S. sinensis. The confusion was traced back to the mixed collections made in Jiangxi Province in 1907 by E.H. Wilson under W1722, which both contributed to Rehder and Wilson’s description of S. sinensis (Spongberg 1974). The individual that prompted the investigation had been received from the Lushan Botanical Garden, Jiangxi, in 1936 and probably represents the first introduction of the species: it is likely that much of the material in cultivation has been derived from this plant. Hsu et al. (2008) mention that it hybridises easily with other species, especially S. sinensis, so hybrids should be expected in seed-raised batches.

Bean (1981a) stated that S. rostrata was not in cultivation in Britain, and Johnson (2011) reports it as scarce, with the tallest specimen recorded being 6 m tall at Grayswood Hill, Surrey in 2010. However it is currently freely available from nurseries in Europe and is grown in collections throughout the eastern United States: presumably it will become more familiar over time. Hsu et al. (2008) describe the bark as ‘unremarkable’ and ‘rather nondescript’ and say that seedlings can be slow to flower, reaching 8 m over 15 years without flowering – but there are compensations in the potentially scarlet autumn colour, and the red bracts and capsules. It’s also the earliest Stewartia to flower, starting in May.

‘Hulsdonk Pink’

Selected by Cees and Elly van Ostaayen from seedlings raised at their Hulsdonk nursery, Peer, Belgium. Flowers are a soft pink (though the depth of colour can vary with the season), and are produced on young plants (Hulsdonk).

‘Pink Satin’

Introduced by Broken Arrow Nursery in 2012, selected by Adam Wheeler from seedlings in a production field. Images show a clear pink corolla fading to white in the centre and at the base (A Way to Garden accessed July 2016).

‘Yoakemae Nishiki’

A clone with irregular white sectors on the foliage, originating from Japan, is cultivated in France (A.D. Les Avettes post to Facebook Stewartia Group July 2016).


A site produced by the International Dendrology Society.

For copyright and licence information, see the Licence page.

To contact the editors: