Camillia Season is Here

In Southern California, we’re blessed with some sort of floral life all year round.  During our ‘winter’ months, the camellia buds are busy blooming and putting on a fine display.

Here are ten camellia facts to up your camellia trivia knowledge

1.     In China, white camellias represent admiration, good luck, perfection and loveliness 

2.     Depending on the cultivar, camellia flowers can take a variety of forms including paeony, anemone, rose, and double 

3.     Camellia leaves are used for making tea and tea tree oil 

4.     Many new varieties of the camellia were imported into England through the British East India Company 

5.     Camellia plants were first brought to America from England in 1797 

6.     Verdi’s La Traviata and Dumas’ La Dame aux camellias were inspired by camellias which were considered a luxury flower back in the day 

7.     The white camellia flower is the iconic signature of the Chanel brand 

8.     The camellia is the state flower of Alabama 

9.     The 10th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters tournament, is named Camellia 

10.  The largest collection of camellias in North America can be found at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA

Now that you have a rich set of camellia focused trivia, let’s talk more specifically about Descanso.  The original Descanso property was home to a rather large oak forest within its 160 acres.  When newspaper publisher E. Manchester Boddy built the estate known as Rancho del Descanso, he planted thousands of camellias under the shade of these old oak trees.  Today many of these camellias are over 80 years old, and the diversity of species (over 700) means that the flowers bloom from October through May.  Right now, we’re entering the peak blooming season.  Click here to see a short walkthrough in the ‘camellia forest’ on Vimeo.