Plant Guide


Gordonia axillaris

fried egg plant

Evergreen tree or large shrub with dark green foliage and attractive dappled orange brown bark, native to south-east Asia. Leathery leaves to 15 cm long with smooth, shallowly lobed or toothed margins. They turn scarlet before dropping, a few at a time throughout the year. White flowers with crepe paper-like petals and conspicuous yellow stamens, 12 cm wide, during midwinter and early spring. Flowers drop before browning, with the stamens facing upwards, resembling a carpet of fried eggs.

Gordonia axillaris belongs to the Theaceae, the tea family (same family as camellia). It has been renamed Franklinia axillaris, but is also known as Polyspora axillaris.

Prefers a partially shaded position in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Happy in full sun as long as there is adequate moisture during dry periods. Fertlise regularly to prevent leaves from turning yellow. No pruning required or only a light prune in spring after flowering. Hardy to about -7oC.

Type of plant

Tree - Evergreen


3-5 m tall

Landscape Use

evergreen feature tree with attractive bark and winter flowers


  • Temperature: Half hardy
  • Light: Medium High
  • Moisture: Medium
  • Soil: Medium