CCU Arboretum

Loblolly Bay

Common Name: Loblolly Bay

Scientific Name: Gordonia lasianthus

Species Range: The loblolly bay is native to the southeastern United States, specifically the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. It can be found on wet lowlands, wet soils of bays and edges of swamps.

Growth Characteristics: This evergreen tree can get up to 75 feet tall in most moist soils but will be shrubbier in drier soils. Its leaves are leathery and elliptical that grows 3-6 inches long and 1 ½ -2 inches wide. The undersides of the leaves are pale while the tops of them are dark green. Its bark is dark gray to reddish-brown and smooth or slightly fissured and deeply fissured as it ages. The white, showy, and fragrant flowers grow to 3 inches across and are only produced as one flower at the end of a stalk. They bloom throughout the summer. The loblolly bay’s capsule fruit grows to only ½ inch in diameter and matures in the autumn.

Uses, Other Details: Its bark has been locally used for tanning leather.

Threats: Some pests threaten loblolly bay. Root rot can also be a problem for young trees, and it does not tolerate salt or drought.

Species profile by Billie Rogers


F., Edward, et al. Gordonia Lasianthus Loblolly-Bay. November 1993,

Kirkman, L. Katherine., et al. Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide. Timber Press, 2007.