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Stuartia pseudocamellia Maxim.

Modern name

Stewartia pseudocamellia Maxim.

A deciduous tree to about 60 ft high in Japan, with a flaking bark; branchlets and often the leaves quite glabrous, the latter sometimes silky beneath. Leaves 2 to 312 in. long, ovate or obovate, tapering at the base to a short stalk, finely toothed. Flowers produced singly in the leaf-axils on a short stalk, 12 in. or less in length; each flower 2 to 212 in. across, white and cupped. Bracts below the flower shorter than the sepals. Petals five, roundish, concave, covered with silky hairs on the back, the margins irregularly jagged. Sepals densely hairy. Stamens numerous, incurved, orange-yellow. Ovary conical, surmounted by five united styles, the stigmas only spreading. Fruit a broadly ovoid, hairy capsule, 1 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 7045.

Apart from S. sinensis, this species is the only stuartia to have attained the stature of a tree. The largest recorded are: Leonardslee, Sussex, 56 × 234 ft (1968); Westonbirt, Glos., 46 × 134 ft (1971); Killerton, Devon, 50 × 334 ft (1970).

S. pseudocamellia received a First Class Certificate when exhibited by Messrs Veitch in 1888.

var. koreana (Rehd.) Sealy S. koreana Rehd. – The Korean race of S. pseudocamellia is perhaps not even varietally distinct from the Japanese. But, as represented in cultivation, it differs from trees of Japanese provenance in having flowers which, instead of being cup-shaped, are rather widely open and about 234 in. across; the leaves are broader, 114 to 4 in. long and 34 to 3 in. wide, broadly tapered or even rounded at the base, and less silky-hairy beneath. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 20.

The var. koreana was introduced by Wilson in 1917 but seems to have been unknown in this country until Arthur Osborn of Kew saw small trees in the Arnold Arboretum flowering beautifully in 1930. It was introduced to Britain in the following year, and Osborn’s high opinion of this tree was amply confirmed when flowering branches from Exbury were shown at Vincent Square on July 3, 1945. It is now well established and perhaps the best of the genus for small gardens, flowering well in July in a sunny position and turning reddish brown or orange in the autumn. Its ultimate height in this country is uncertain, but in the wild it is said to attain 45 ft.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Leonardslee, Sussex, 50 × 214 ft (1985); Sheffield Park, Sussex, 46 × 234 ft (1982); Westonbirt, Glos., 46 × 134 ft (1977); Killerton, Devon, 50 × 412 ft (1985).



Other species in the genus