lasianthus (L) Ellis)
medium-size evergreen tree, sometimes known locally as red bay,
is found in Carolina bays, poccosins and on other wet sites in
the Coastal Plain and, more particularly, in the southern Tidewater
region of the state. It is a comparatively short-lived tree and
rarely exceeds 70 feet in height and 20 inches in diameter. It
has a narrow, compact crown of spreading branches.
Loblolly bay leaves are 4 to 6 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide.
They are leathery, dark green, smooth and shiny. The leaves are
broader near their outer ends and toothed or wavy on their margins.
They turn scarlet in the fall and drop gradually during the next
The flowers are fragrant, white and about 2 to 3 inches across.
Blossoms appear over a period of several weeks in mid-summer.
They are attached singly on long, stout, red flower stalks that
spring from the axils of the leaves. The petals are rounded and
silky on their lower sides.
The fruit is oval, pointed, hard or woody. It has a downy coat
and is about 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch in diameter. It splits
into five cells, or parts, each bearing from two to eight winged,
four-sided seeds. The pink wood is soft and light. It sometimes
is used in cabinet-making or for pulpwood.