Polyspora yunnanensis syn Gordonia yunnanensis
Fried Egg Tree
A interesting tree that is being sold as a good tree for small gardens is looking beautiful here at present. It is being called Gordonia yunnanensis but it seems the name has not long been changed to Polyspora yunnanensis as it does not fit the Gordonia genus properly. The cultivar available at garden centres is “Moonlight Magic”.
The tree has lovely, light-green new foliage with reddish bark. The leaves mature to a deep, glossy green and the plant grows compactly but in an upright habit. Because it is related to Tea and Camellias it tends to look a bit Camellia-like as do the flowers which are its high point. They are pure white, flat and up to 200mm across with the centre of the flowers filled with yellow stamens. Lots of flowers are carried and they keep opening over a long period of time. They don’t brown on the plant but drop complete and tend to cover the ground with a white carpet. Altogether a great new plant.
I looked this plant up on the web as none of my books cover this new introduction and could only find one reference to it by a camellia nursery in Australia. There I found some interesting points. The plant comes from Yunnan in China and their seeds had come from a mature tree there, which was about 28 metres high(!!) and had a trunk 2.5 metres in diameter(!!) Rather large for the home garden. All is not lost though as it prunes quite easily and doesn’t seem to mind it, so it could be kept comfortably at 2 to 3m. A good new introduction for the garden and even the farm. It might have timber potential.