Loblolly Bay, the common name for shrubs or trees of the order camelliaceae and genus Gordonia, a name which commemorates both Dr. James Gordon, an eminent Scotch physician, and Alexander Gordon, a London nurseryman well known in the last century. There are two species in the southern states, G. lasi-antlius, which grows from Virginia to Florida, and westward; and G. pubescens (formerly called Franklinia in honor of Benjamin Franklin), which, being very local in southern Geor gia and the adjacent part of Florida, is comparatively little known, and does not appear to have received a distinctive popular name. G. lasianthus, which is found only as a shrub in Virginia, in favorable localities further south reaches the height of 30 or even 50 ft. The lanceolate-oblong leaves are narrowed at the base, thick and evergreen; the flowers are on axillary peduncles, large, showy, white, about 2 in. across, and with the general aspect of a single camellia; the stamens are united at the base to a five-lobed cup, which adheres to the base of the petals; the fruit is an ovoid, five-celled capsule, opening by five valves, with two to eight seeds in each cell. G. pubescens differs in having deciduous leaves, its stamens attached to the petals, and the manner in which the capsule opens.
The wood of the loblolly bay is considered of little value; it has a fine mahogany color, but its grain is too coarse for cabinet work. The bark of the tree is rich in tannin, and is nearly if not quite equal to oak for making leather. Both species flower when quite small, and are desirable ornamental plants wherever the climate is not too severe. G. pubescens, being deciduous, is more hardy than the other, but neither is to be relied upon where the winters are much colder than at Washington.