Stewartia villosa Merrill

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John Grimshaw

Latest version
10 Dec 2016

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Evergreen tree, 8–20 m. Bark of mature trees unknown; first year twigs spreading villous or appressed pubescent. Leaves (4.5–)6–13(–21) × (2.4–)3–5.5(–7) cm, elliptic-oblong, oblong, or lanceolate, leathery, both surfaces villous or pubescent but sometimes glabrescent, 10–16 pairs of veins, margin weakly serrate, apex acute to shortly acuminate, base rounded; petiole 1–2 cm, spreading villous or appressed pubescent, wings ca. 2 mm wide. Flowers solitary; pedicel 6–8 mm, villous; bracteoles lanceolate, 0.8–1.5 cm, villous; sepals 1.5–1.8 × (0.4–)0.6–0.8 cm, unequal, ovate-lanceolate, apex acute, villous externally; corolla yellowish white, lobes c. 1.8 × 1.2 cm, obovate; stamens c. 1 cm, filaments fused at the base; ovary conical, tomentose. Capsule c. 1.8 cm, conical. Flowering June-July (China). (Min & Bartholomew 2007)
Distribution CHINA: Guangdong, Guangxi, southern Jiangxi
Habitat Forests, 200–1200 m asl
USDA Hardiness Zone 9–10
RHS Hardiness Rating H2–3
Conservation status Not evaluated

This little-known tree from southern China is in cultivation in southwestern England, but as yet its potential as a tree or its long-term hardiness are unknown. Images of a young specimen growing at Bowringsleigh, Devon, by Nicola Manisty, show attractive glossy dark green leaves with a leathery texture and stiffly serrate margins, held on reddish-brown young twigs.



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