Monday, June 30, 2008

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.


Anonymous Jan said...

Lovely flowers. I do like trees that bloom, esp. at times other than early spring. Why have a plain tree when you can have blooms, too?

Always Growing

2:32 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Jan,
I heartily second your opinion of flowering trees ... but, we have a Linden which I wish wouldn't bloom. The flowers are numerous and covers the tree; actually the flowers hang down so they don't literally cover the tree but they are abundant and are stinky sweet and not pleasant to my nose. The bees and flies apparently love them as do the Japanese beetles. Apparently some people like the smell but I find it overpowering.

Thanks for your comment.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Phillip said...

I have wanted one of these ever since I read about it in Michael Dirr's book. It is one of his favorite trees. I have never seen them in nurseries in my area.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Phillip,
I haven't seen a Stewartia in any of the local nurseries either except one about 15 miles away which we never went to. They advertised an all plants must go auction and there were 3 Stewartia pseudocamellias sold as a lot. I was outbid by a very determined guy but I was able to order them online from Big Dipper Farm. The trees/shrubs were small, only about a foot to foot and a half tall but two have already bloomed in the second year after we planted them. I was able to buy 3 different varieties too instead of only the pseudocam. Thanks for stopping by.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

I don't consider Stewartias rare, more like underused. They are beautiful but it sometimes difficult to see and photograph the blooms. I like that it has a couple of other seasons of interest including the beautiful bark for winter and superior fall color.

4:58 AM  

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