Stewartia ovata, known commonly as mountain camellia,is a small tree native to low to mid-elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains and nearby regions from Mississippi to Virginia. It is a member of the Theaceae, the tea family.
Stewartia ovata, commonly called stewartia, mountain stewartia or mountain camellia, is a deciduous small understory tree or large shrub that is primarily native to wooded stream banks and bluffs bases in the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont from Virginia to Alabama. It is noted for its camellia-like flowers, rich dark green summer foliage and orange-scarlet fall color. It typically grows to 10-15’ tall with a shrubby habit. Ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (to 5-6” long) have broadly winged leafstalks. Leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall. Five-petaled white flowers (to 3” diameter) with orange anthers bloom in July when few other trees are in bloom. Flowers give way to 5-parted woody seed capsules that split open when ripe. This tea family member is closely related to Camellia, Franklinia and Gordonia.