Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) is a beautiful four-season tree has graceful limbs and a dense, natural, pyramidal shape. Its bright green leaves giving way to orange to red to bronze-red fall color. The bark ranks as the best in the genus: mottled shades of brown, gray, and reddish brown. The flowers are white with bright yellow stamens and are quite showy in late May and June. Moist soils and afternoon shade are preferred in the Carolinas. Other Asian and American species exist with outstanding qualities; however, they’re challenging to propagate and grow commercially. For an overview of cultivated species from a British perspective, along with stunning photos, see the June 2008 issue of The Plantsman (“Stewartia in cultivation” by Eric Hsu, Timothy Boland, and Koen Camelbeke).