Mountain Stewartia

Mountain Stewartia - Stewartia ovata
Tea family (Theaceae)


Introduction: Mountain stewartia is the only stewartia native to Kentucky. It is found in only in four counties around Lake Cumberland. It is a wonderful small tree producing large white camellia-like flowers in the summer.
Culture: Does best in a rich loam soil that is acidic. Can be difficult to transplant. It can be grown in full sun, but does best in partial shade.


Botanical Information
  • Native habitat: Native to southeastern states, especially Tenn., Virginia, and North Carolina.
  • Growth habit: Small tree often with multiple stems.
  • Tree size: Trees can reach 15 feet tall.
  • Flower and fruit: Flowers are white with prominant yellow, orange or purple anthers. Fruit is a pointed capsule with 5 chambers.
  • Leaf: Leaves are simple and entire. Deep green in summer.
  • Hardiness: Winter hardy to USDA Zone 5.


Additional information:
This is wonderful plant that deserves to be planted more as an ornamental. It is difficult to propagate and that accounts for its limited availability in nurseries.

The name Stewartia commemorates the former Earl of Bute in England, James Stuart (1713-1792).

The National champion trees is Seattle, Washington and is 26 feet tall.


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