Silky Stewartia. This incredible native large shrub or small tree has to be one of the aristocrats of our native "woodies" with its incredible "silky" white camellia-like flowers. It is of course in the Camellia family, Theaceae, from which we get three other native species, M. ovata (Mountain Stewartia), Gordonia lasianthus (Loblolly Bay) and grows in the wild from Virginia to Mississippi, and Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin Tree) which is now extinct in the South. To begin with it will be more shrub-like with a broader than high profile. It flowers in mid spring with 2.5 inch white flowers with purple streaks at the base of its petals. This is a strain the we got from Woodlanders which is unique in this respect, as I have seen some local stands that completely lack the purple streaking. The filaments of the stamens are also a deep purple. It is best grown in filtered sun with adequate moisture or even rather dense shade, where I have seen it thriving. But too much shade will limit flower bud set. It is often seen growing on creek banks. This is truly an aristocrat of native plants. It is not overly difficult to root, but the secret is getting it to grow off the following spring. But branches also air layer quite easily by pulling them down to the ground, wounding them and anchoring them with a rock, then covering rather shallowly with soil. Give it one good year to 18 months, and then remove it from its parent plant upon rooting. The pictures below are courtesy of Hayes Jackson, Anniston, AL.