Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. They are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan 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, who worked in the Philippines, though he never described a camellia.
Of economic importance in the Indian subcontinent and Asia, leaves of C. sinensis are processed to create the popular beverage, tea. The ornamental Camellia japonica, Camellia oleifera and Camellia sasanqua and their hybrids are represented in cultivation by a large number of cultivars.
Striped camellias, or striped flowers for that matter, were once considered quite regal and a much sought after commodity. Today, they seem to be the least favourite camellia cultivar, accounting for only 7.5% of camellias encountered in Australia.
C. japonica 'Helenor' 1848, shown here, is still quite popular as a garden plant. It is a tough bush, producing mid-pink blooms that are dashed and striped with darker pink, in a lovely formal double arrangement (which sometimes opens to rose form double).
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