Stewartia ovata

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Stewartia ovata
Stuartia ovata.gif

Apparently Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Stewartia
Species: S. ovata
Binomial name
Stewartia ovata
(Cav.) Weatherby 1939
Stuartia ovata Range.png
  • Malachodendron ovatum Cav. 1787

Stewartia ovata, known commonly as mountain camellia,[3] 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.[4]


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.

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