(Cav.) Weatherby 1939
Stewartia ovata, known commonly as mountain camellia, is a small tree native to low to mid-elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains and nearby regions from Mississippi to Virginia. It is a member of the Theaceae, the tea family.
Although not endangered, the plant does have a limited range and is uncommon throughout its range. Mountain camellia grows in the understory of predominately hardwood forests and tends to be found near streams, usually at elevations below 800 m (2,500 feet).
Stewartia ovata is a deciduous flowering shrub or small tree growing to 5 meters (16 2/3 feet) tall, with smooth, flaking grayish-orange bark. The leaves are oval with an acute apex, 7–13 cm (2.8-5.2 inches) long and 3–6 cm (1.2-2.4 inches) broad, and turn orange, red, or gold when the tree becomes dormant in the fall. The flowers are camellia-like, 6–12 cm (2.4-4.8 inches) in diameter, with five white petals and numerous white, yellow or purple stamens; they appear in early to mid-summer.
There are two varieties:
- Stewartia ovata var. ovata — flowers 6–8 cm diameter, stamens white to yellow.
- Stewartia ovata var. grandiflora (W.J.Bean) Weatherby — flowers up to 12 cm diameter, stamens purple.
- "Stewartia ovata". NatureServe. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
- The Plant List, Stewartia ovata (Cav.) Weath.
- "Stewartia ovata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- Flora of North America, Stewartia ovata (Cavanilles) Weatherby, 1939. Mountain camellia or stewartia
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