Stewartia rostrata

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Daniel Mosquin, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The following has been submitted via email:

    I am about to purchase a horribly expensive Stewartia and was hoping to find "malacodendrum" but have been offered Stewartia rostrata - can't find any information about it. Can you help me?
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The following is from North American Landscape Trees by Arthur Lee Jacobson (Ten Speed Press, 1996):

    "From east China. Introduced to the US in 1936 (as S. sinensis) from Lushan Botanic Garden of China. Exceedingly rare (as a landscape tree). Named in 1974 for its distinctive, persistent seed capsules, 1" long, 5/8" wide (in Latin, rostrata means beaked). Leaves to 6" x 2.5", rubbery-feeling, wet glossy look, very short-stemmed. Flowers much like those of S. pseudocamellia. Bark rough, gray and nothing special. Records: to 40' tall in the wild; several ca. 23'-25' tall in Seattle, WA (1994)."

    UBC Botanical Garden has two specimens of Stewartia rostrata in the David C. Lam Asian Garden, which we received in 1985. I've attached a couple pictures of one of the trees.
     

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  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The other picture.
     

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  4. I have one. It is very similar to the Stewartia pseudocamilla, but the flowers are smaller. It is extremely slow growing.The trunk of ours when we bought it 12 years ago was as big around as your thumb. It now is about 2 inches in diameter. It has grown about 4 feet in height. It is a wonderful tree for a small garden. Doesn't seem to require any attention.

    M. Irwin
     
  5. I planted a S. rostrata 10year ago and it is a wonderful plant. The abundant white flowers are followed by a bright red fruit which eventually dries and browns. It is hearty in the Willamette valley need very little attentions. I have 2 other stewartias all 3 are planted near a fence , larger tree ,or shrub for protection.
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Stewartia malacodendron - Silky Camellia. This plant is native to a
    band of US states from Texas to the West, Florida to the South and
    Virginia to the North including all the Southern states in between.
    Obviously this plant likes lots of rainfall and high humidity. I do
    not know where the person resides that wanted this Stewartia but a
    malacodendron is obtainable from principally Southern US nurseries.

    Rostrata as a substitute will also require us to know where the plant
    will be going. I do know that we've tried to grow Stewartia here,
    mainly Stewartia pseudocamellia and Stewartia ovata grandiflora
    without much success. We are too hot for them as they tend to like
    marine air that we just do not get inland. For us Stewartias burn up
    unless grown in a saran house with shade cloth and then in a location
    that is protected from our warm to hot afternoon winds. It was not
    a problem for us to get them to bloom but it is a real challenge to
    keep them alive here.

    People just do not know how lucky they are with certain plants
    for someone to make the insouciant comment that the "bark is
    rough, gray and nothing special(nothing special in comparison
    to what?).

    Well, for us just having that plant is something special and for
    areas that do get snow on the ground, the bark takes on a whole
    new aspect for beauty. I've seen Rostrata grown in Oregon and
    every time I see a nice plant I am a little more than envious
    of the person that has that particular Stewartia.

    Jim
     
  7. StewartiaLover268

    StewartiaLover268 Member

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    Thanks Jim for defending the plants. Totally agree with you. Jacobsen who wrote North American Landscape Trees, doesnt not what he is saying when he says the Bark is rough gray and nothing special! Its just good to see that there are other plant nerds and plantsmen like myself still out there. More power to you.
    -Geoff
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    As can be seen in above photos, bark is "nothing special" when compared to that of some other, more familiar species of Asian origin. Boxy, flattened-looking fruits probably most distinctive feature. Form in local commerce at present time also has flowers partly flushed red.

    Eastern American species not very similar.
     
  9. Re: Ron B's & Jim's Comments

    Beauty it seems, is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

    FYI, Woodlanders in Aiken, South Carolina (the source of several eponymous cultivars) is a mail-order source for S. malacodendron $17.00 in the 2004-06 calalog.

    Den in Oregon
     
  10. Zeb Haney

    Zeb Haney Member

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    I just installed a S. rostrata for a client. I came upon this tree by accident while looking for monodelpha, but it seems from this thread that it should be a nice ornamental. At least it will provide a conversation piece. I found the plant in a southern Oregon nursery.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    S. malacodendron produces unique flowers but is not very willing in cultivation. There is no bark interest. The other eastern North American species, S. ovata can also be a bear to establish.

    The conspicuous barks of SS. pseudocamellia and monadelpha are not matched by any other species occurring with any prevalence in western cultivation. Curiously, when these cross to produce S. x henryae the attractive bark and other ornamental features seem to tend to get muted out instead of being continued or even enhanced. I have seen multiple examples of this hybrid here - it is not nearly as rare as described in the literature. Blocks of seedlings offered as one of the parents at local outlets may contain rather high percentages of what are clearly hybrids (specific diagnostic features of fruits etc. make recognition possible). These offerings were apparently raised from open-pollinated seeds gathered from locations where both parents were present.
     

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