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Japanese Camellia
Theaceae
Camellia japonica


Thunder
Thunder
Flower Petal # 7+
Main Color    
Color 2    
Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree



Theaceae Family

Camellia Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Common Camellia


Location

Native to Japan, Korea, and China

Physical Description
: In its natural habitats the wild plant of Camellia japonica grows to 6-9 meters (20-30 feet) tall. It has usually red, five-petaled flowers of 5-8 cm (2-3 in) diameter. These are the most common Camellias seen in Chinese Gardens

The leaves of the Camellia japonica are alternate, simple, broadly elliptic, thick and smooth. The length of the leaves ranges from 7.5 12 cm and the width ranges from 3 7 cm. The upper side of the leaf is dark green in color, and the lower side of the leaf is a paler green. The leaves are serrate. Flowers of wild Camellia japonica usually have less petals, usually either 5 or 6, than cultivated plants



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Theaceae
Ericales
Ericales
Erica Order (Heathers)
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

In Japan, where the Camellia or Tsubaki has such a long-gardened history, the language of flowers is older than in the west. Camellias are sometimes said to represent business success, virtue, happiness, fidelity, luxury, tastefulness, & a life concluding in the ease of retirement. But that is in great part a modern imposition or overlay, because formerly the camellia, akin to cherry blossoms which symbolized evanescense, was symbolic of a short life lived in a blaze of glory, or in faithfulness to a lord even in the face of sure death.
While the camellia was an important fixture in the garden of someone of the samurai class who admired an honorable death, among farmers & merchants it was not so well liked. Basil Hall Chamberlain in his classic work Japanese Things (1904), introducing Japanese culture to a western readership, noted the following: "The camellia is neglected because it is considered unlucky. It is considered unlucky because its red blossoms fall off whole in a way which reminds people of decapitated heads."
Chamberlain overstated somewhat, for in the Heian court period so gloriously captured by Lady Murasaki Shikibu in A Tale of Genji, the "sudden death" which camellias symbolized could as well be the sudden death of dreams, illusions, & love affairs. There was tragedy in camellias because they are simultaneously things of great beauty & of transience, indicative of the "sadness of things" in Buddhist philosophy, & it is out of such contradictions that all beauty arises.
The evergreen leaves & woody structure of camellias had an entirely different connotation, given that the leaves, unlike the flowers, were eternally present. The Japanese emperior possessed a staff made of camellia wood because of its power to ward off evil spirits. The shrubs in or out of bloom were indicative of the nobility & spirituality of reasoned discourse & thought, & of scholarliness or of meditative endeavors such as tea ceremony.
Medicinal Uses: The flowers are astringent, antihemorrhagic, haemostatic, salve and tonic. When mixed with sesame oil they are used in the treatment of burns and scalds. The plant has shown anticancer activity
Food Uses: Tea oil is a sweet seasoning and cooking oil made by pressing the seeds of the Oil-seed Camellia (C. oleifera), the Japanese Camellia (C. japonica), and to a lesser extent other species such as Crapnell's Camellia (C. crapnelliana), C. reticulata, C. sasanqua and C. sinensis. Relatively little-known outside East Asia, it is the most important cooking oil for hundreds of millions of people, particularly in southern China.
Dried flowers - cooked. Used as a vegetable or mixed with gelatinous-rice to make a Japanese food called 'mochi'. The leaves are a tea substitute
Other Notes: It is the official state flower of Alabama.
Red camellias symbolize intrinsic worth and white blossoms mean loveliness. Displayed at Korean weddings as far back as 1200 BC, camellias represent longevity and faithfulness.




Japanese Camellia




Japanese Camellia


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