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Gordonia J. Ellis. Loblolly Bay, Gordonia.

As recircumscribed, a genus of 2 species, trees, of se. North America and Central America (Gordonia brandegeei H. Keng). The other 20-70 species of se. Asian trees and shrubs previously assigned to Gordonia are actually in a different tribe and are reassigned to Polyspora (Yang et al. 2004; Choo et al. 2020).

ID notes: Gordonia is one of the "bay trees" so typical of acid Coastal Plain wetlands of our area – the other two being Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana of the Magnoliaceae) and Swamp Red Bay (Tamala palustris of the Lauraceae). Gordonia can be distinguished from the other two species by its smooth leaves, serrate toward the tip, odorless when crushed (vs. pubescent leaves, entire-margined, aromatic when crushed). Gordonia is also distinctive in its narrow, conical crown, resembling Liriodendron or Chamaecyparis, and its medium-gray, deeply furrowed bark. Most individuals of Gordonia have at least a few orange-red leaves visible, at any season.

Ref: Choo et al. (2020); Prince (2009) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2009); Stevens, Dressler, & Weitzman In Kubitzki et al. (2004); Yang et al. (2004); Zhang et al. (2022). Show full citations.

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