Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Camellia, a genus of the order Ternstromiaceae, or, as they are sometimes called, Camelliaceai, named by Linnaeus, after Father George Joseph Kamel, a Jesuit missionary in the Philippines. It comprises some twelve known species of evergreen shrubs or small trees with glossy leathery leaves and red or white axillary flowers, which are natives of eastern Asia and the adjacent islands. Of these the best known are Camellia japonica, introduced by Lord Petre in 1739, and now largely cultivated for its blossoms, and Camellia theifera, the tea-plant. The tea-plants, formerly separated under a genus Thea, are only distinguished by superficial characters. Camellia japonica seeds freely in southern Europe, so that many hundreds of seedling varieties have been raised. Camellias require a rich porous soil, frequently top-dressed, and a great deal of water when growing or flowering, but not much heat or light.