More photos: Camellias, Winter Blooming Shrubs
Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. They are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. There are 100–250 described species, with some controversy over the exact number.
This genus is famous throughout East Asia; camellias are known as cháhuā (茶花) in Chinese, “tea flower”, an apt designation, as tsubaki (椿) in Japanese.
Today camellias are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers; about 3,000 cultivars and hybrids have been selected, many with double or semi-double flowers. Camellia japonica is the most prominent species in cultivation, with over 2,000 named cultivars. Next are Camellia reticulata with over 400 named cultivars, and Camellia sasanqua with over 300 named cultivars. Some varieties can grow to a considerable size, up to 100m², though more compact cultivars are available.
There is great variety of flower forms:
- single (flat, bowl- or cup-shaped)
- semi-double (rows of large outer petals, with the centre comprising mixed petals and stamens)
- double – paeony form (convex mass of irregular petals and petaloids with hidden stamens) – anemone form (one or more rows of outer petals, with mixed petaloids and stamens in the centre) – rose form (overlapping petals showing stamens in a concave centre when open) – formal double (rows of overlapping petals with hidden stamens)