T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Gordonia axillaries (Fried egg treet)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Gordonia
Species: G. axillaries
Scientific name: Gordonia axillaries
Synonyms: Camellia axillaries, Gordonia anomala, Franklinia axillaris
Common names: Gordonia, Fried egg tree, Poached egg tree

Gordonia axillaries is an evergreen tree that originates in southern China. This small, hardy tree with a height and spread of 3-5m has dappled orange brown bark. It has dark glossy green leaves and flowers similar to camellias. The large, open, single, white flowers with yellow stamens are borne profusely from April to September. The flowers are up to 10cms across with white wavy-edged petals and a prominent clump of golden stamens. Some of the flowers grow in the leaf axils, hence the species name, axillaris.
Gordonias belong to the Theaceae, or tea family, and the flowers resemble those of the closely related camellia. However gordonia flowers do not go brown on the plant, instead, they drop off and land on the ground with the stamens facing upwards, resembling a carpet of 'fried eggs.
Leaves turn scarlet before they fall.


A newly opened flower early May.

Flowers on ends of the branches. Photo June.


Flower buds. Early June.

The flowers never die on the tree, they fall to the ground like this one.

A young shrub.

Upper surface of a leaf with a notched margin towards the apex.

Underside of leaf

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/