Gordonia Species, Loblolly Bay

Gordonia lasianthus

Family: Theaceae (tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gordonia (gor-DOH-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: lasianthus (lay-zee-ANTH-us) (Info)
Synonym:Gordonia pyramidalis
Synonym:Hypericum lasianthus



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Bartow, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Kingsland, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Coushatta, Louisiana

Centreville, Maryland

Chapin, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 30, 2013, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

Loblolly bay is a great plant. I have been growing a few of these for a few years here in Maryland. (zone 7). They tolerate the colder winters here very well and usually remain mostly evergreen, with the exception of a few leaves dropping in the fall. The flowers are similar to most common camellia cultivars and periodically appear from around June through fall in this area. The only negatives about this plant would be the slow growth rate and the very picky conditions in which it need to grow. They will struggle in drought as well as with too much water, which can be a difficult issue when planting in clay soils. They can be somewhat compared to the difficulty of growing rhododendrons except without the need for shade. Its a shallow root system that creates the difficulty. However... read more


On Sep 25, 2008, SageOne from Birmingham, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Well I hope adding this comment doesn't jinx me or my Gordonia, but yes, that's right: I have a mature one here in Birmingham. I planted it about 1995 when it was about 5 ft tall and it's slowly grown to maybe 12 ft. It's one of my favorites; I view it as a survivor in a hostile USDA zone 7b world. :)

I believe that it has done well because of its microclimate: I planted it as a "foundation" tree, next to my house. It has a southerly exposure and is protected from drying winter winds. Believe it or not, I'd call it drought-tolerant: I rarely give it supplemental water. EVEN during our drought of 2007 I watered it by hand (heavily) no more than twice, and once or maybe twice I gave it a good session with a soaker hose. Most "normal" summers I MIGHT ha... read more


On Aug 14, 2008, djam from Jupiter, FL wrote:

Picked up one on the side of the road around Orlando about 15 years ago. Didnt think it would survive the bare root trip home to Palm Beach county, but it did . It is now a 20 foot mature tree and it blossoms all summer. Lightly fragerant flowers are there every morning and drop off every afternoon. Since its getting old I decided to try and airlayer a cutting from it. I was sucessful. A great tree.!


On Jul 5, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The lovely white flowers blooming along the roadsides are a joy. They do well in the home landscape as well. The grooved bark of mature trees adds interest. At almost any month of the year, it is possible to find at least one red leaf. This is a characteristic which will help you to identify this tree. Unlike the other two "bay" trees commonly found in Florida, this one does not have aromatic leaves. MN4


On Apr 1, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The Loblolly Bay is the official city flower for Jacksonville, Florida -- a nice choice I think. It grows fairly abundantly in wooded areas in NE Florida and can be frequently seen along I-10 between Jacksonville and Tallahasee when it is in bloom.


On Mar 31, 2005, hawkarica from Odessa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

While this plant may like moist soil, it will not take standing water. It also has a reputation as being difficult to transplant and generally hard to grow. Apart from that, it is a great native tree.