About 9 species of tall deciduous shrubs or small trees with exfoliating bark.  Leaves alternate, simple, toothed, with short petioles.  Flowers usually solitary, terminal or axillary, large, petals (5-8) white or cream, usually fused at the base, numerous stamens.  Fruit is a woody capsule, splitting into 5 valves.  Native to eastern North America and eastern Asia.
Stewartia: after John Stuart, 1713-92, 3rd Earl of the Isle of Bute, Scotland, a patron of botany.  Some have suggested that the spelling should be changed to Stuartia and, indeed, it is occasionally listed as such.  However, Krüssmann (1976) did not support the change and retained the former spelling because "it has yet to be proven whether or not this was the spelling intended by Linnaeus." (One hopes that common sense will prevent the change.)