Camellia | Camellia spp.
The Camellia plant is unique, in that it blooms in the late winter and early spring months. This beautiful flower originates from the Far East, in areas such as the eastern Himalayas, China, Japan and Malaysia, where it usually grows in coastal and mountainous regions. Camellia japonica is one of the most popular of its species and is known as Tsubaki ("tree with shining leaves") in Japan. There, it is a highly respected and culturally significant flower. Its shape is often used in traditional patterns and seasonal sweets; its nourishing oil has been made in Japan since the 8th century and continues to be used in beauty and wellness products to this day.
The Camellia's exquisite flowers can be found in a dazzling array colours - snow white, hot pink, royal purple and cherry red with each colour having its own unique symbolism. What makes these flowers so striking, are the dark green, glossy, evergreen leaves that surround its bright blooms. Universally, these robust flowers symbolise love, affection, and admiration. When the petals of the flower fall, the entire flower falls in tact, so it's no surprise that they are considered a sign of romance and devotion as this unified act represents the commitment between two lovers.
Red camellia blossom, then
White camellia blossom,
Both fell to the ground
- Kawahigashi Hekigoto
If you’ve read the iconic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, you may remember that the white Camellia flower holds a special significance. In the book, it is the white Camellia that represents understanding and patience overcoming prejudice and injustice.
The single plant species called Camellia sinensis is used to make most green and black teas. Their leaves and petals are dried and fermented (depending on the type of tea) to produce teas with high caffeine content. Green tea is renowned for its antioxidants which have many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, reducing heart disease, and boosting metabolism.
Luckily, these plants have no specific toxicity, so shouldn’t be any risk to curious pets. During the winter months, when the garden may seem a little lacklustre, these bright and beautiful flowers are a sure way to brighten the scene. With shorter stems, they are the perfect flower to place in a shallow float bowl in your home. Whether you decide to place a single bud in a bowl, or a bouquet in a short vase, these stunning flowers are guaranteed to bring life and joy into your home.
Listen to our monthly playlist here and sip on some tea as you prepare your January flower arrangement.