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Monday, July 31, 2006

Camellia Facts And Pictures

On February 18, 1893, Alabama adopted the goldenrod as the official flower—of the United States! On September 6, 1927, it was adopted as Alabama's state flower. The yellowhammer was adopted as the state bird on the same day.

In 1927, the goldenrod was designated as state flower, but was replaced by the camellia, an exotic flower, possibly due to the erroneous idea that goldenrod pollen was annoying to those who are allergy-prone (actually, the goldenrod is falsely blamed for reactions caused by ragweed). Camellia colors include white, pink, red, and mixtures. Some have suggested that red and red-and-white camellias represent the state, matching the red and white of the Alabama flag.

Alabama's state flower is the only symbol not native to Alabama. It's from Asia. Camellias are named for G.J. Kamel, a Jesuit priest who traveled in Asia in the seventeenth century. The introduction of Camellia japonica L. in Italy is dated about 1760, but only during the XIXth century this species became popular. Many Italian nurserymen started growing Camellias at that time and soon this business became of remarkable importance. In two areas, the Lucchesia (Tuscany) and the lake Maggiore zone, camellia production was famous, due to the local nurserymen, breeders, and collectors. In these areas camellias were grown in a great number of gardens and still today it is possible to find old specimens.

Camellias are large, attractive, broad-leaved, evergreen shrubs that are highly prized for their flowers, which bloom from winter to spring. There are more than 2,300 named cultivars registered with the American Camellia Society.

In South Carolina the primary camellias used include cultivars of Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica), Sasanqua camellia (C. sasanqua), tea-oil camellia (C. oleifera), other species (C. sinensis or tea camellia) and many hybrids using two other species extensively (C. reticulata and C. salvenensis).

Camellia japonica 'Spring Fever'

A mulch of peat will help keep the roots cool in summer. They flower in the spring, ie August to October in our southern gardens. The flowers are showy and come in a range of colours from white to pink to rosy red. They can be double or single, large (as the Reticulata's) or small (like the Miniatures).

Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles'


Blogger Green Earth said...

Your flowers are beautiful.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 2:38:00 AM  

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