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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Gordonia lasianthus (L.) Ellis
Gordonia, Loblolly bay
USDA Symbol: GOLA
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Evergreen tree or shrub with showy, large, white, fragrant flowers; narrow, compact crown of upright branches; and shiny, leathery foliage. Loblolly-bay is a showy, slender, flowering tree with evergreen leaves. Its ultimate size depends on soil moisture, ranging from 30-80 ft. The dark-green, glossy foliage provides a suitable backdrop for numerous large, white flowers. Resembling camellia flowers, five waxy petals surround a mass of golden stamens. The fragrant flowers occur singly at leaf axils but are concentrated at the branch tips, giving the appearance of clusters.
The bark was once used locally for tanning leather. The Latin species name means hairy-flowered. This genus, honoring James Gordon (1728-91), British nurseryman, includes about 30 species; all the others are in southeastern Asia and Indomalaysia.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Texture:
Leathery Inflorescence: Axillary Size Notes:
Normally 30 to 60 ft high. Tallest on record is 84 feet. Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Flowers 2-3 inches wide
Tan Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Bloom period lasts until frost. The fragrant flowers tend to open individually instead of all at once.
, SC Native Distribution: NC,
s. to FL
& w. to LA Native Habitat:
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist, fertile, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Though usually seen in wetlands, Loblolly Bay is tolerant of dry, sandy soil, in which it grows in the wild as a large shrub. It does not tolerate drought and will need winter wind and sun protection at the northern limits of its range. The plant can be finicky and short-lived under cultivation unless its natural habitat is closely matched. Root rot can be a problem when young.
A glossy-leaved evergreen tree
with fragrant blooms. Can be used as canopy or understory. Use Wildlife:
Deer browse foliage. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or cuttings. Semi-hardwood or softwood cuttings are used; some authorities say cuttings root easily, others say rooting is sporadic. Sow seeds outdoors in sandy soil. Some will germinate the following year; others require an addition
Seed Collection: Gather seeds in late summer when the capsules show signs of splitting. Dry capsules in paper bag until they open.
Seed Treatment: Seed requires no special treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native evergreens for privacy in Crockett, TX
October 12, 2008
I need advice on what tall evergreens I can plant along a fence line for privacy. I need trees that will be at minimum 8 to 10 feet tall at maturity, are aesthetically pleasing and provide privacy.
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
|Status:|| FACW || FACW |
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MSMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-05
Research By: TWC Staff