Stewartia pseudocamellia Blooms!
My tiny 2 feet tall Stewartia pseudocamellia finally bloomed. I was amazed when I spotted a small pea sized bud several weeks ago and eagerly awaited the flower. I saw the flower starting to unfurl a couple of days ago and waited for the next day to take some pictures of the open flower but found the still closed flower lying on the ground. My heart sank and I decided to open the flower so I could at least have a picture of the first bloom.
Fortunately, unbeknownst to me was another bud further up on the shrub hidden by leaves. It bloomed the following day so I was able to take some photos of it blooming on the shrub. The flower is about 2" in diameter not including the frills. This one doesn't have the dark maroon spot of the Stewartia rostrata I wrote about previously.
I thought Stewartias were rare but I've since spotted two within a few blocks of our home. One was planted on the community property of a townhouse unit. I wish our townhouse association had planted nice specimen plants when we lived in a townhouse. The other is in the yard of a private home. I was tempted to walk on the lawn to photograph the flowers but remembering my episode (woman slamming down the window) when taking a picture of the big leaf magnolia, I decided not to risk getting yelled at.
Stewartias are related to Camellias and thus the similar look of the flowers. Since I like Camellias it's nice to have a similar flower blooming earlier in the year. Unfortunately the flowers don't last as long as the Camellias. The second flower fell off after it opened for a day! I hope this is because the shrub is still small and not characteristic of the plant.