We are staring a "lonely trees" campaign highlighting trees that are either rare or are one of only a few in the UK.
The first one is:
A member of the Theaceae family so related to Trewithen's award winning camellias. A beautiful tree with attractive cinnamon and grey peeling bark. The trunk has a rippled effect asking to be stroked by the passer by. Single white Camellia like flowers in May and June followed by glorious autumn red tints of colour.
Details of why it's rare/not popular/not cultivated;
Too large for most gardens but if you have a sheltered space this should be on your list. Others in the Stewartia genus are smaller but not as spectacular as this tree. Slightly tender for most areas.
Details of when it was planted, where it came from and how it got here;
Introduced by Ernest Wilson in 1901 from central China
Anything else that’s quirky about the tree;
The smooth "Elephants leg" like trunk is irresistible to the touch.
Trewithen’s is a "Champion Tree" according to the tree register, a charity that measures and documents the largest trees in the British Isles.