Botanical Beauties: A Tale of Two Trees

Korean Stewartia trees
July 5, 2017

There’s hidden beauty on Wellesley’s campus, including two Korean Stewartia trees that are covered with a constellation of white flowers and buds right now. The younger tree, pictured here, was planted in 1972 and stands just a few yards from the College’s new outdoor labyrinth, north of Paramecium Pond.

The second Korean Stewartia, planted in 1932, is harder to find. It’s tucked away in the College’s H.H. Hunnewell Arboretum, at the end of a walking path near Rte. 135. But it, too, is worthy of attention.

“Stewartias not only have big, beautiful flowers, they also have graceful form and lovely, multicolored bark,” said Kristina Jones, director of the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens. “Stewartias are in the tea family, along with camellias, including Camellia sinensis, from which green, black, and white tea is made.”

That makes the two trees close cousins of the Durant Camellia, which was donated by College founder Henry Durant in 1870. (It has been housed in the Seasonal Display House since the Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses were built in 1922.)

“The college community often misses the Stewartia flowers since they bloom over the summer,” said Jones. “Come visit these spectacular trees now!”