Botanical Name: Stewartia monadelpha
Common Name: Tall Stewartia
Notable Feature: Outstanding tree for year-round interest: its delicate, white, saucer-shaped flowers appear in June/July; the dark green foliage becomes a brilliant mix of rich reds and oranges in the fall; and as the leaves drop, the beautiful, cinnamon brown bark of the trunk and branches is revealed.
Habit: Slow-growing and deciduous. With age, this pyramidal, 20 to 30-foot high, single or multiple-trunked tree develops a bush-like profile.
Flower: The camellia-like, creamy white flowers are numerous and up to 1 ½” wide. The blossoms with five petals and yellow anthers appear in early summer, slowly opening over four weeks. Species has perfect (bisexual) flowers.
Fruit: Dry, woody, five-parted capsule, ½” long, and egg-shaped but pointed.
Foliage: The 2 to 4-inch long, elliptic, alternate leaves (dark green above, pale and hairy below, with serrate margins) turn outstanding deep reds to brilliant oranges, clinging well into the fall.
Interesting Fact: The zigzag twigs are light reddish brown, except for the current year’s growth, which are more grayish green. Stewartia monadelpha is a member of the Camellia/Tea family.