Camellia - Glossary

Species and cultivars

Camellia japonica
Coming from China, then Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. They are the most famous and are very popular. This specie regroups thousands cultivars of various flower sizes, foliage, habits and colors. Flowering during  winter or spring.
Higo Camellias Coming form the old Japanese province of Higo (now Kumamoto), on the southern island of Kyushu, selected by lords of the Samuraï. They constitute a group of 120 cultivars inside Camellia Japonica. The flowers are always single and the stamens are proeminent.
Coming from marriage between species, hybrids are recent (1930). Some are cold resistants. The form and color ranges are varied. Flowering during winter or spring. 
Hybrid C.x williamsiiHybrids 'williamsii' (coming from Camellia saluenensis and Camellia japonica) are named after the first European breeder, J.C. Williams.
Camellia reticulata Coming from southwest of China, Yunnan. Very large flowers and hundreds of cultivars. Flowering during spring. For temperate climates. 
Hybrid C.reticulata By hybridization, the species C.reticulata has given hundreds of mostly spring-flowering cultivars.
Camellia sasanqua
Specie coming from Japan. Flowering in autumn. Often fragrant (smells jasmine tea). Camellia sasanqua  gave hundreds of cultivars.
Species Wild camellias

Flower form or style

Five to eight petals in one row.
'Beatrice Michael'
Two or more rows of large regular, irregular or loose outer petals (nine or more). With proeminent stamen.
camellia, fleur semi double
Rose-Form Double Petals are imbricated or overlapped as informal double, but opening to reveal stamen display in a concave center.
Formal Double
Many rows of petals (sometimes more than a hundred), usually with central cone of tightly furled petals.

Peony Form or Informal Double
A mass of raised petals with petaloids (parts of the flower that have assumed the appearance of small, narrow or twisted petals).
Anemone Form
One or more layers of large outer petals with a mass of petaloids ans stamens in the center.

Flower size

3 to 6 cm
6 to 8 cm
8 to 10 cm
10 to 13 cm
Very Large
Over 13 cm

Color aspects

Graduated Shading
The main color can shade from the center to the edge of the petal. The flowering can begin with a color (pink here) which shades and brightens as the flower opens out.

Marginated white
The flowers are bicolors. A dominant color (pink here) fills allmost all the petal surface. The edges have a thin white strip.
Marginated pinkA variant of two-colored flower, mostly white and a thin pink strip on the periphery.
Marginated redOn this flower, a thicker red strip if added to the dominant white color.
Striped white
The petals have several colors. White stripes converge towards the center of the petal. Some have the term "Nishiki" in their name (ie 'Nishiki Kirin') to emphasis this characteristic.
Striped pinkYou can also find pink stripes.
Striped redA final possibility on this flower, red stripes. Sometimes you can also find pink and red stripes on the same flower.
Blotched white
The petals can be more or less blotched. This second hue, here white, contraste with the base color. The spots are more or less numerous and extended.
Blotched pinkThe petals can also be spotted pink. Note that the size and arrangement of spots varies from a camellia to another.
Blotched redSpots can also be very discreet, here, the red spots are very small.


Compact The plant is branched. Growing tall and wide. Suitable for hedging.
Upright Pruning can help to develop a better-shaped plant.
Bushy The plant is branched and dense, like a bush. Pruning can avoid overcrowding.
Slender The plant is narrow and columnar. Easy to train. For small area.
'Black Lace'
Weeping With pendulous branches. 'Jean May'
Some plants have a tendency to spread instead of growing. Suitable for big area.
Dwarf Suitable for bonsaï.

Flowering season

Northern Hemisphere

Southern Hemisphere

October to January
March to June
January to March
June to August
March to May
August to October
Early to late
November to April
April to September