Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Gordonia axillaris

Other Common Names: Fried egg tree, poached egg tree
Synonyms: Polyspora axillaris
Family: Theaceae

This relative of the Camellia has, like so many plants, been the subject of taxonomic revision. Consequently, there is some confusion about names. Previously known as Gordonia anomala, it became Gordonia axillaris. Recently, it has been reclassified as Polyspora axillaris by some authorities. You may also see it called Franklinia axillaris in a few places.

However, it will probably still be known in horticultural circles as Gordonia axillaris for some time to come.

The white, yellow-centered flowers have given rise to rather inelegant common names like "fried egg tree" or "poached egg tree'. A distictive charactieristic is their tendancy to drop from the tree, forming a white and yellow carpet below the bush.

Another Gordonia in the marketplace in Australia is G. yunnanensis, which may also be seen called Gordonia axillaris 'Yunnanensis' or Polyspora yunnanensis by nurserypersons (and is presumably the Sinopyrenaria yunnanensis referred to by Chih-Hua Tsou and Pyrenaria diospyricarpa by Min Tianlu and Bartholomew)

Two related plants that you will find many references to are the North American species Gordonia lasianthus (retained in Gordonia under the new classification) and Franklinia alatamaha.

Like camellias, gordonia prefer acid soil conditions so use appropriate soil mixes and fertilisers.


Click for larger image.

Gordonia axillaris Gordonia axillaris
Gordonia axillaris as a street tree. Brisbane Late April, 2016

Gordonia axillaris  Gordonia axillaris
The carpet of "poached eggs" on the ground is an additional feature of the tree

More Online Information

Gordonia axillaris The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Polyspora axillaris SFA Mast Arboretum, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas (PDF)
Gordonia and relatives Mount Tomah Botanic Garden
Gordonia from China Gordonia yunnanensis. Mount Tomah Botanic Garden
Research by E. M. Meyer about Gordonia, Franklinia and Schima. Includes references to other published published papers
Polyspora axillaris in Flora of China @
Polyspora axillaris (Roxb. ex Ker Gawl.) Sweet ex G. Don Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), United States Department of Agriculture
Pyrenaria diospyricarpa in Flora of China @
GRIN Species Records of Gordonia Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), United States Department of Agriculture



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