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Stewartia monadelpha is often confused with:
Stewartia pseudocamellia Leaves
Native alternative(s) for Stewartia monadelpha:
Stewartia malacodendron Stewartia malacodendron
Stewartia ovata Stewartia ovata
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Stewartia malacodendron Stewartia malacodendron
Halesia carolina Full Form
Lagerstroemia 'Osage' Lagerstroemia 'Osage'

Hime-syara Stewartia Stewartia monadelpha

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Stewartia sericea
Phonetic Spelling
stew-AR-tee-ah mon-ah-DEL-fuh
Description

The tall Stewartia is a deciduous shrub or multi-stemmed tree that has smooth bark with thin exfoliating sheets, white Camellia-like flowers during the summer, and scarlet red foliage in the fall.  It grows to a height of 20 to 25 feet and has a pyramidal shape. As it matures, the form is more open, multi-trunked with horizontal branches. The plant is a member of the Theaceae family and is related to the Camellia.

The tall Stewartia is a native of Japan, and its habitat includes mountain forests. The plant is hardy to USDA Zones 6b to 8b.

The genus's name, Stewartia, is in honor of John Stuart who was a 16th-century Scottish botanist. The spelling was the result of a transcription error. During the 19th-century, the name Stuartia was used; however, the original spelling is now accepted. 

This plant does best in partial shade but is tolerant of full sun. It has an excellent heat tolerance. It tolerates well-drained clay, loam, sandy, and acidic soils. The plant also has a high drought tolerance. The methods of propagation include seeds or stem cuttings.

The tall Stewartia is also known as the orangebark Stewartia. The bark is scaly and exfoliating with a smooth reddish-tan undersurface. The leaves are dark green with finely serrated margins in the spring and summer, and the fall foliage is red. The white cupped-shaped flowers measure 1 to 1.5 inches wide and have yellow-orangish stamens. The fruit is a hard, five-segmented capsule and appears in the fall.

The tall Stewartia's heat and drought tolerance make this plant a well-suited specimen for the southern United States. The ornamental and multi-season features make it an excellent choice in the landscape. Consider the tall Stewartia for a shrub border, patio area, accent, lawn specimen, or street tree.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage:  Fall        Bloom:  Summer      Fruit: Fall      Bark:  Winter

Quick ID Hints:

  • exfoliating bark and smooth surface of reddish reddish-tan below the bark
  • reddish-brown to greenish-gray twigs
  • dark green elliptic leaves with grayish-green undersides
  • red fall foliage
  • white Camellia-like flowers with orange stamens that bloom during the summer
  • the fruit is a small oval woody capsule

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems:  The plant has no serious insect or disease problems.

Compare this Plant to  Stewartia pseudocamellia 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Dog'
    Purple fall foliage
'Black Dog'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#specimen#white flowers#slow growing#winter interest#fall interest#accent plant#flowering tree#street tree#summer flowers#summer interest#acidic soils tolerant#deciduous tree#exfoliating bark#patio planting#fall color red#partial shade tolerant#lawn planting#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Dog'
    Purple fall foliage
'Black Dog'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#specimen#white flowers#slow growing#winter interest#fall interest#accent plant#flowering tree#street tree#summer flowers#summer interest#acidic soils tolerant#deciduous tree#exfoliating bark#patio planting#fall color red#partial shade tolerant#lawn planting#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Stewartia
    Species:
    monadelpha
    Family:
    Theaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan
    Distribution:
    Native: Japan: south-central Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku Islands; Distribution: South Korea: Honshu, Kyushu; US: MA (Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury), PA (Barnes Arboretum in Philadelphia and Henry Botanic Garden in Gladwyne) OR (Oregon State University Campus), WA (Washington Park Arboretum)
    Wildlife Value:
    Its flowers will attract bees.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Multi-trunked
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is oval. reddish-brown, and measures 0.5 to 1 inch in length. They are finely pubescent, segmented, dry, and hard. There are two reddish-brown seeds in each segment.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are white cupped-shaped, five-petaled, and measures 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. There are golden yellow stamens in the center of the bloom. Flowering occurs in June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, alternate, and elliptical to ovate. The upper surface is dark green, and the undersides are grayish-green and covered with short hairs. The leaf measures 1.5 to 3 inches long, 0.5 to 1.5 inches wide, and the margins are finely serrated. The fall foliage is deep red.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and mottled with colors of cinnamon brown and tan. It exfoliates in thin sheets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The young twigs are reddish-brown and pubescent. They become smooth and grayish-green. The winter buds are compressed, hairy, and have overlapping scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat