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Camellia
Christmas Camellia (Camellia sasanqua) is a popular plant with many uses
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Camellia
L.
Species

About 100–250, see text

Synonyms

Thea

Camellia, the camellias, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. They are native to eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalaya east to Korea and Indonesia. There are 100–250 described species, with some controversy over the exact number. The genus was named by Linnaeus after the Jesuit botanist Georg Joseph Kamel from Brno, who worked on the Philippines. This genus is famous throughout East Asia; camellias are known as cháhuā (茶花) in Chinese, as tsubaki (椿) in Japanese, and as dongbaek-kkot (동백꽃) in Korean.

The most famous member – though often not recognized as a camellia – is certainly the tea plant (C. sinensis). Among the ornamental species, the Japanese Camellia (C. japonica) (which despite its name is also found in Korea and Eastern China) is perhaps the most widely-known, though most camellias grown for their flowers are cultivars or hybrids.

Contents

Description

Leaves of Camellia sinensis, also known as the tea plant

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees 2–20 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, thick, serrated, usually glossy, and 3–17 cm long. The flowers are large and conspicuous, 1–12 cm diameter, with (in natural conditions) 5–9 petals; colour varies from white to pink and red, and yellow in a few species. The fruit is a dry capsule, sometimes subdivided into up to 5 compartments, each compartment containing up to 8 seeds.

The genus is generally adapted to acidic soils, and most species do not grow well on chalky or other calcium-rich soils. Most species also have a high rainfall requirement and will not tolerate drought, but some of the more unusual camellias – typically species from karst in Vietnam – can grow without much rainfall.

Camellias have a fast growth rate. Typically they will grow about 30 centimetres a year until mature although this varies depending on variety and location.

Camellia species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Camellia. Leaves of the Japanese Camellia (C. japonica) are parasitized by the fungus Mycelia sterile (see below for significance).

Use by humans

Camellia reticulata is rare in the wild but common in culture

Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. While the finest teas are produced by C. sinensis courtesy of millennia of selective breeding of this species, many other camellias can be used to produce a similar beverage. For example, in some parts of Japan, tea made from Christmas Camellia (C. sasanqua) leaves is popular.

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.

Many other camellias are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers; about 3,000 cultivars and hybrids have been selected, many with double flowers. The Japanese Camellia – often simply called "the camellia" – is the most prominent species in cultivation, with over 2,000 named cultivars. Next are C. reticulata with over 400 named cultivars, and the Christmas Camellia with over 300 named cultivars. Popular hybrids include Camellia × hiemalis|C. × hiemalis (C. japonica × C. sasanqua) and Camellia × williamsii|C. × williamsii (C. japonica × Camellia saluenensis|C. saluenensis). They are highly valued in Japan and elsewhere for their very early flowering, often among the first flowers to appear in the late winter. Late frosts can damage the flower buds, resulting in misshaped flowers.

The camellia parasite Mycelia sterile produces a metabolite named PF1022A. This is used to produce emodepside, an anthelmintic drug.[1]

Mainly due to habitat destruction, several camellias have become quite rare in their natural range. One of these is the aforementioned C. reticulata, grown commercially in thousands for horticulture and oil production, but rare enough in its natural range to be considered a threatened species.

Selected species

Camellia fraterna
Flower buds of an unspecified camellia
Fruits of an unspecified camellia

Footnotes

  1. ^ Harder et al. (2005)

References

  • Harder, A.; Holden–Dye, L.; Walker, R. & Wunderlich, F. (2005): Mechanisms of action of emodepside. Parasitology Research 97(Supplement 1): S1-S10. doi:10.1007/s00436-005-1438-z (HTML abstract)

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Camellia sasanqua
See also camellia

Contents

Translingual

Etymology

Named after botanist Georg Kamel (1661-1706) by botanist Carl von Linnaeus (1707-1778).[1][2]

Proper noun

Camellia

  1. (botany) A taxonomic genus, within family Theaceae - the camellias.

References

  • Notes:
  1. ^ Erhardt, Walter & Götz, Erich & Bödeker, Nils & Seybold, Siegmund, Zander. Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen. Dictionary of plant names. Dictionnaire des noms de plantes, Ulmer, 2000.
  2. ^ Hyam, Roger & Pankhurst, Richard, Plants and their Names. A Concise Dictionary, Oxford University Press, US, 1995.

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Unassigned Asterids
Ordo: Ericales
Familia: Theaceae
Tribus: Theeae
Genus: Camellia
Species: C. amplexicaulis - C. assimilis - C. brevistyla - C. buxifolia - C. caudata - C. changii - C. chekiangoleosa - C. chrysantha - C. confusa - C. crapnelliana - C. crassipes - C. cuspidata - C. drupifera - C. euphlebia - C. euryoides - C. fleuryi - C. forrestii - C. fraterna - C. furfuracea - C. granthamiana - C. grijsii - C. hengchunensis - C. hongkongensis - C. impressinervis - C. irrawadiensis - C. japonica - C. kissi - C. lanceolata - C. langbianensis - C. lapidea - C. longicarpa - C. lutchuensis - C. mairei - C. maliflora - C. minutiflora - †C. multiforma - C. nitidissima - C. oleifera - C. parviflora - C. parvulimba - C. pitardii - C. polyodonta - C. pubipetala - C. reticulata - C. rosaeflora - C. salicifolia - C. saluenensis - C. sasanqua - C. sinensis - C. taliensis - C. tenuivalvis - C. transarisanensis - C. transnokoensis - C. trichocarpa - C. tsaii - C. tsofui - C. uraku - C. vernalis - C. vietnamensis - C. wabiske - C. ×williamsii - C. vietnamensis - C. yuhsienensis - C. yunnanensis

Name

Camellia L.

Synonyms

References

  • Wolfe, Jack A. (1968); "Paleogene biostratigraphy of nonmarine rocks in King County, Washington" U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 571
  • Trehane, Jennifer (2007). Camellias: the Gardener's Encyclopedia. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 31-51. ISBN 9780881928488.  

Vernacular names

English: cammelias
日本語: ツバキ属
中文: 山茶花

Simple English

Camellia
File:Camellia japonica
Camellia japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Camellia
L.

Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae, native to eastern and southern Asia from the Himalaya east to Japan and Indonesia. Scientists are still discussing how many species there are. The number of species varies between 100 and 250. The genus was named by Linnaeus after Fr. Georg Joseph Kamel S.J., a Jesuit botanist.

File:Teestrauch
Leaves of Camellia sinensis

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees from 2–20 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, thick, serrated, usually glossy, and 3–17 cm long. The flowers are large and conspicuous, 1–12 cm diameter, with (in natural conditions) 5–9 petals; colour varies from white to pink and red, and yellow in a few species. The fruit is a dry capsule subdivided into 1–5 compartments, each containing 1–8 seeds.

The genus is generally adapted to acidic soils, and does not grow well on chalk or other calcium-rich soils. Most species also have a high rainfall requirement and will not tolerate drought.

Camellia species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Butterflies species.

Cultivation and uses

Camellia sinensis is of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. Tea oil is a sweet seasoning and cooking oil made by pressing the seeds of Camellia sinensis or Camellia oleifera.

Many other camellias are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers; about 3,000 cultivars and hybrids have been selected, many with double flowers, as in the gallery below. Camellia japonica (often simply called Camellia) is the most prominent species in cultivation, with over 2,000 named cultivars; next are C. reticulata, with over 400 named cultivars, and C. sasanqua, with over 300 named cultivars. Popular hybrids include C. × hiemalis (C. japonica × C. sasanqua) and C. × williamsii (C. japonica × C. salouenensis). They are highly valued in Japan and elsewhere for their very early flowering, often among the first flowers to appear in the late winter. Late frosts can damage the flowers.

Camellias have a slow growth rate. Typically they will grow about 30 centimetres a year until mature although this varies depending on variety and location.

Camellia japonica is the state flower of Alabama as well as the city flower of the Chinese municipality Chongqing.

Famous Camellia aficionados

  • HM The Queen Mother grew Camellia in all of her gardens. As her body was taken from Royal Lodge, Windsor to lie in state at Westminster Hall of the Palace of Westminster, a Camellia from her own gardens was placed on top of the flag draped coffin
  • Coco Chanel was very well known for wearing a white Camellia
  • Alexandre Dumas, fils named his most famous novel The Lady of the Camellias (1848) after the significance this plant played in the story.
  • Ralph Peer, the music industry pioneer often credited as the Father of Country Music, was a former president of the American Camellia Society.
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