Living in Japan and Korea, the stewartia is particularly highly valued in European gardens for its combination of slow growth with an attractive look in all seasons. In the winter its bark flakes off as in a plane tree, forming multicoloured patterns. Its bright fresh green pleases the eye in the spring, and the impressive white flowers (as in the tea family) attract attention in the summer. In the autumn it produces angular fruit and a symphony of colourful leaves.
This species is rather uniform; still, in the early 21st century Prof. Tumiłowicz of Rogów Arboretum developed a new Polish variety of this species.