Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Stewartia malacodendron

Silky Camellia, Virginia Stewartia, Round-fruited Stewartia

Theaceae (Tea Family)

Stewartia malacodendron (Silky camellia)
Cressler, Alan
Silky camellia is a large, open-branched shrub growing up to 10 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, deciduous, 24 inches long and half as wide, silky below, and distinctly veined. Flowers are white to cream-colored, 23 inches across, and saucer-shaped. The petals are crimped at the margins and wider at the tip. The numerous dark-purple stamen filaments and bluish anthers are conspicuous.

This genus, related to the evergreen camellias, honors John Stuart (1713-92), the Earl of Bute and a patron of botany. The species name is Greek for soft tree, referring to the silky hairs covering the lower leaf surface.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Flowers are white to cream-colored.


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to FL & extreme e. TX
Native Habitat: Wooded banks & hillsides

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Description: Acid, humus-rich, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Silky camellia prefers deep shade during the heat of the day, but thrives on early morning sun.

Last Update: 2016-03-17