Camellia is a genus of about 250 species of East Asian evergreen shrubs and trees belonging to the Tea family. They are very long lived, often more than 100 when happy. Camellia is most noted for a few ornamental flowering species and for Camellia sinensis, whose young leaves are the source of tea.
Camellia japonica is the popular ornamental, noted for its single, semi-double or double varieties. It has overlapping petals that range in color from white through pink, to red and variegated. It is especially valuable because it performs well in a fair amount of shade.
Camellia sasanqua varieties are another garden favorite. They bloom from mid fall to early winter. Their flowers tend to be smaller than C. japonica, but they have more of them.
Currently, there are about 20,000 named Camellias in cultivation.
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Name Derivation: Named for Georg Josef Kamel, 17th century Moravian Jesuit missionary
Common Name: Camelia
Camellia is in the family Theaceae.