Wildlife, Animals, and Plants
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Gordonia lasianthus | Loblolly-Bay
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Loblolly-bay is a small to medium-sized native, evergreen tree or shrub.
It grows to about 65 feet (20 m) in height and has a narrow conical to
columnar crown . The simple leaves are alternate, leathery, and
thick. The rough bark of mature trees is thin, interlaced with
flat-topped ridges and separated by narrow furrows. The perfect,
solitary flowers are axillary to close-set leaves on the current years
twigs. The fruit is a hard, woody, five-valved capsule about 0.6 inch
(1.5 cm) long with each valve containing four to eight flat, winged
seeds. Loblolly-bay has a large primary root with secondary roots
branching downward [9,20,23,24].
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Seed production and dissemination: Loblolly-bay produces an abundance
of lightweight, winged seed. Most of the seeds fall within a radius of
two to three times the height of the source tree. Seeds are shaken out
of the capsules by the wind, and empty capsules remain attached until
peduncle and capsule abscission [6,12].
Seedling development: Germination is epigeal. Most loblolly-bay
seedlings do not live past the first growing season; those that do show
slow initial growth. By the end of the third growing season the
seedlings are about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) tall and by the eighth
growing season are 12 to 16 inches (30-40 cm) tall .
Vegetative reproduction: Vegetative reproduction of first-year shoots
in a peat and sand medium under mist is commonly used by
horticulturists. In the field, vegetative reproduction is more common
than regeneration from seed. Stump sprouts may grow as much as 3 feet
(1 m) in the first year .
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Loblolly-bay grows in warm, wet, temperate climates with an average
annual precipitation of 64 inches (1,630 mm) in Florida to about 44
inches (1,120 mm) in North Carolina. The species grows in acid, swampy
soils of pinelands and bays on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains.
Loblolly-bay is found on several soil series. It grows on certain
Spodosols, Inceptisols, Ultisols, and Histosols, and to a lesser degree
on Entisols and Mollisols. Loblolly-bay grows in flat woodlands or
shallow depressions with little or no slope, slow runoff, rapid
permeability, and poor to very poor drainage. In South Carolina the
soils are usually of sandy coastal plain or marine origin, except for
the organic soils. The water table is usually at or near the soil
surface from 6 to 9 months of the year [1,2,12,18].
Associated hardwoods include water oak (Quercus nigra), sweetgum
(Liquidambar styraciflua), American holly (Ilex opaca), red bay Persea
barbonia var. barbonia), and black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica). Associated
shrubs include fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), inkberry (Ilex glabra),
greenbrier (Smilax spp.), southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), and swamp
cyrilla (Cyrilla racemiflora) [1,3,11,18].
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Faculative Seral Species.
Loblolly-bay is classed as tolerant of shade. In bays and wet flats
where tree cover is relatively light, loblolly-bay is a strong
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
Loblolly-bay flowers from the last week in June to the first week in
July. Flowers remain open for 1 or 2 days and are pollinated by bees,
flies, and hummingbirds. After the second day, the sepals and petals
fall, leaving the ovary at the end of the peduncle. As the ovaries
develop, they gradually turn brown and five sutures develop. Mature
open capsules first appear during September or October, and all the
capsules open by the middle of December. Seedfall starts in October,
peaks in December, and continues until early March .
Related categories for Species: Gordonia lasianthus