Camellia japonica (the Japanese camellia) is one of the best known species of the genus Camellia. Sometimes called the Rose of Winter, it belongs to the Theaceae family. It is the official state flower of Alabama in the USA. There are thousands of cultivars of C. japonica in cultivation, with many different colours and forms of flowers. In the wild, it is found in mainland China (Shandong, east Zhejiang), Taiwan, southern Korea and southern Japan. It grows in forests, at altitudes of around 300–1,100 metres.
Camellia japonica is a flowering tree or shrub, usually 1.5–6 metres tall, but occasionally up to 11 metres tall. Some cultivated varieties achieve a size of 72m² or more. The youngest branches are purplish-brown, becoming grayish-brown as they age. The alternately arranged leathery leaves are dark green on the top side, paler on the underside, usually 5–11 centimetres long by 2.5–6 centimetres wide with a stalk (petiole) about 5–10 millimetres long. The base of the leaf is pointed (cuneate), the margins are very finely toothed (serrulate) and the tip somewhat pointed.
In the wild, flowering is between January and March. The flowers appear along the branches, particularly towards the ends, and have very short stems. They occur either alone or in pairs, and are 6–10 centimetres across. There are about nine greenish bracteoles and sepals. Flowers of the wild species have six or seven rose or white petals, each 3–4.5 centimetres long by 1.5–2.5 centimetres wide; the innermost petals are joined at the base for up to a third of their length. (Cultivated forms often have more petals.) The numerous stamens are 2.5–3.5 centimetres long, the outer whorl being joined at the base for up to 2.5 centimetres. The three-lobed style is about 3 centimetres long.
The cultivar illustrated here is the bicoloured, anemone type of blossom, "Baby Sis Pink". Melbourne climate suits the camellia so they are a very popular garden plant, often growing to a very large size (4-5 m tall).
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.