Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

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Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Mountain-Camellia, a deciduous large shrub or small tree, is a rare component of the understory of deciduous forests, with a scattered distribution in the North Carolina Piedmont and Mountains. In the Piedmont, as here in Hanging Rock State Park, it is often found in north-facing ravines in openings of Rhododendron-dominated slopes.

Spectacular white Camellia-like flowers appear in mid-summer. The ones at left are not fully open.

Common names include Mountain Stewartia. The hyphen in Mountain-Camellia is to indicate that it is not a true Camellia.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 7/3/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Stewartia ovata has 5 separate styles, while the similar Stewartia malacodendron has one style with a 5-lobed stigma.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 7/3/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 7/3/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

The leaves are broadly ovate, broader than those of Stewartia malacodendron.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 7/3/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 7/3/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Flowers about to open are globe-shaped.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Dry seed capsules split open when mature. This one is from the previous year.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

The edges of the leaf are ciliate, with "eyelashes".

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Leaf underside.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Mountain-Camellia (Stewartia ovata)

The bark has intersecting ridges.

Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

More information:
Tree Trail

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All photographs and text ©2010 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.