Search plant names:
Links for Teachers
Site Map

Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Loblolly Bay

Loblolly Bay

(Gordonia lasianthus (L) Ellis)

  This 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 year.

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.
Plant Information Center
About PIC  |  Project Staff   |  Advisory Panel Research Activities |  
Partners  Permissions 
  Funding provided in part by
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Plant Information Center is produced
in conjunction with Botnet