Tag Archive for 'grijsii'

Camellias for Dwarfs and Elves – an article by Yuri Panchul in American Camellia Yearbook 2011 – full text

Full text of the article about dwarf camellia I wrote a year ago and mentioned in previous post.
This article was published in American Camellia Yearbook 2011.

Полный текст статьи о карликовых камелиях, которую я написал год назад и про которую я написал в предыдущем посте.

Camellias for dwarfs and elves
Yuri Panchul
American Camellia Yearbook 2011

A big disadvantage of the camellia hobby is the fact that eventually almost every camellia is going to become a large tree. Yes, it is possible to prune camellias severely and even create a camellia bonsai. However such drastic techniques are not only labor intensive – they go against the natural habit of growth for the majority of camellias. Are there any dwarf camellias, suitable for a camellia hobbyist with little available space – let’s say, a balcony in a city? Yes and no. There are several camellias that come close, but their variability is no match for the variability of their large camellia relatives. This situation creates an opportunity for the camellia hybridizers of different ranks, including both professionals and backyard hybridizers.

What is a dwarf camellia? An ideal plant should have small leaves, relatively short internodes, high density of foliage and miniature attractive flowers. In addition, a camellia hobbyist would expect to have cultivars with different habits – willowy for groundcovers, rigid and upright for cypress-like columnar growth and everything in between – drooping, spreading, et cetera. A dwarf camellia should be also slow growing, although some people would prefer to have a fast growing cultivar with fine texture (small leaves and flowers) to quickly create a medium-size plant and then control its size with pruning.

Ideally, a set of dwarf cultivars should have all the flower variations available for the rest of camellias – both in color (white, salmon pink, pink, dark pink, red or bicolor) and in form (single, semidouble, formal double, peony or anemone). Unfortunately, only a fraction of the desired combination exists among dwarf camellias.

Last, but not least, it is very desirable to have dwarf cultivars that are easy to grow. So far, many slow-growing and fine-textured camellia cultivars I have are delicate – they have weaker root system and require careful observation when to water and when to fertilize them. These cultivars are also difficult to propagate through grafting and even more difficult by rooting cuttings.

This article describes only camellia species that belong to the section Paracamellia of the genus Camellia, according to the classifications of Robert Sealy (1958) and Ming Tianlu (2000). (Footnote: There is another classification by Chang Hung Ta (1981) that splits Sealy’s Paracamellia section into two sections (Paracamellia and Oleifera), but many botanists, including Dr. William Ackerman feel that these sections are so close that the split is unwarranted.) This section includes sun tolerant Camellia sasanqua, oil-producing Camellia oleifera and many species that potentially cross-breed with Camellia sasanqua, including C. grijsii, C. microphylla, C. puniceiflora and others. The species from the section Paracamellia have generally smaller leaves than the species from other sections, notably from section Camellia that includes popular species C. japonica and C. reticulata. There are some species from other sections of Camellia genus that have small leaves – notably from section Theopsis, but those species are too botanically distant from C. sasanqua group to cross-breed with them.

There are not so many horticulturalists who observed the inheritance of dwarfness in Camellia. An important observation was made by Dr. William Ackerman from Maryland, when he was working on Camellia cold-hardiness program. When crossing non-dwarf C. oleifera ‘Plain Jane’ with non-dwarf C. sasanqua ‘O’Nishiki’, Dr. Ackerman observed that a quarter of hybrids had genetic dwarfness features – slow growth, smaller leaves and internodes. This classical Mendelian 3:1 ratio suggested to Dr. Ackerman that the dwarfness was in this case regulated by a single recessive gene that was heterozygous in two parents. The same gene was probably acting in well-known Ackerman dwarf hybrids ‘Winter’s Rose’ and ‘Winter’s Red Rider’. However this gene may not explain more extreme cases, like a cultivar ‘Jewel Box’ from Nuccio’s Nurseries in Southern California that has much smaller leaves than Ackerman’s hybrids.

‘Jewel Box’ is the smallest of sasanqua cultivars – its typical leaf is just 30×12 mm as comparing to a more regular leaves of sasanqua cultivar ‘Jean May’ that measures 62×28 mm or a typical Camellia japonica leaf of ‘Kamo Honnami’ that measures 90×60 mm. ‘Jewel Box’ originated in Nuccio’s Nurseries, California. It produces a lot of somewhat wavy single white flowers, sometimes with a pink tint on the border. It appears this cultivar was used to decorate Japanese garden in Huntington Library and Gardens in Sam Marino, California. This garden has the healthiest and best maintained ‘Jewel Box’ planted between rocks along the sidewalk.

‘Jewel Box’ does produce seeds and these seeds sprout, so the cultivar can be used for breeding. However the seedlings are very delicate and easily die when overwatered. The plant’s root system is not very strong, so it is important not to overwater, over-dry or over-fertilize the plant. When grown under sub-optimal condition, this plant frequently shows chrolosis (yellow blotches on leaves) or even have deformed undeveloped leaves. It is difficult to say whether it is a genetic feature, or a result or some virus infection that are frequent among camellia cultivars and result in blotched flowers in pink camellias.

‘Jewel Box’ grows slowly but can be grafted, although it is not the easiest plant to propagate by grafting. Some grafts initially take, but stop growing next year and do not grow beyond stunted stage with a lot of almost opened buds, but no real sprouts. Some other grafts not only take and grow, but develop several large leaves before going back to the size of leaves normal for ‘Jewel Box’. ‘Jewel Box’ may be an interesting subject for a researcher to try different plant hormones – synthetic auxins, gibberellin, etc.

One of the best dwarf sasanqua cultivars is ‘Dwarf Shishi’ (leaf 40×20 mm), a seedling of well-knows cultivar ‘Shishigashira’ of so-called Camellia x hiemalis group of hybrids. (Footnote: C. x hiemalis for a long time was considered to be a species, separate from C. sasanqua, until genetic research proved that C. x hiemalis originated from some ancient hybrid of C. sasanqua with C. japonica). ‘Dwarf Shishi’ was originated by Japanese-American horticulturalist Toichi Domoto (1883-1992) in San Francisco Bay Area. This cultivar has attractive dark pink rose-form double flowers, rigid branches, dense low-growing bush and reasonably strong root system. A scion of ‘Dwarf Shishi’ is very easy to graft on some old overgrown camellia – it quickly produces a very dense sturdy plant. ‘Dwarf Shishi’ is definitely a very promising parent for hybridizing.

There is another cultivar called ‘White Dwarf Shishi’, distributed by Nuccio’s Nurseries. It is not clear whether it is a seedling of ‘Dwarf Shishi’. ‘White Dwarf Shishi’ is a nice plant with double white flowers and straight branches, but its branches are slightly more flexible, habit is more upright and the shape of flowers is different from ‘Dwarf Shishi’. Tom Nuccio hypothesized that this cultivar may be the same as another slow-growing cultivar ‘Kira-shiro-kantsubaki’, but this is certainly not the case – the cultivars of ‘Kira-shiro-kantsubaki’ I got from two different sources (Nuccio’s Nurseries and Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina) – are different, especially in flower shape.

Next plant I would like to present is ‘Tanya’ – a well-known cultivar of Japanese origin. The name is not Russian ‘Tanya’, but a Japanese name of a classic Japanese drama. Technically speaking, this cultivar is not a dwarf – it can grow to large size, but its leaves are smaller than leaves of most sasanqua cultivars, and its branches are very flexible, almost willowy, which makes it suitable for groundcovers and even dramatic-looking bonsai-like container plant. ‘Tanya’ produces masses of single pink flowers of a nice tone, and these flowers generate a lot of seeds. I have one seedling of ‘Tanya’ with very small leaves (20 x 12 mm) and numerous seedlings with leaves much below average size. This shows that ‘Tanya’ is a very useful parent plant that can be crossed with double cultivars like ‘Dwarf Shishi’ and others.

There is another unusually-looking cultivar ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ (typical leaf 45×20 mm) from Nuccio’s Nurseries. It is slow growing; it has small leaves and star-shaped little white flowers. This is a cute plant to have, however its root system is weak, which makes the plant quite finicky, and I never got any seeds on it. The shape of the flower is unusual for sasanqua and I would not be surprised if it happens to be an accidental inter-species hybrid.

I already mentioned cultivars ‘Winter’s Rose’ and ‘Winter’s Red Rider’ that originated from Dr. William Ackerman’s cold-hardiness research that started in late 1970s, when Dr. Ackerman discovered that a close sasanqua relative, Camellia oleifera, is more cold-hardy than other Camellia species and can be used to extend the geographical range of camellia growing.

‘Winter’s Rose’ is a cross between C. x hiemalis ‘Otome’ and C. oleifera ‘Plain Jane’ (pollen). It has relatively large leaves and would not qualify to be dwarf based on purely leaf size. However it is very slow growing and has low-growing habit, so I would call it a dwarf with some reservation. ‘Winter’s Rose’ has strong branches, dark leaves and very nice rose-form double pink flowers – flower shape is a strong point of this cultivar. Unfortunately it has weak root system and is sensitive for overwatering or over-fertilizing. I would recommend to graft it on something stronger, like ‘Kanjiro’, but I not sure whether ‘Winter’s Rose’ will keep its dwarfness being grafted on a strong rootstock – a growth habit of a plant is controlled by a complicated equilibrium of plant hormones and roots sometimes influence the shoots, although this influence is not inheritable by its offspring.

‘Winter’s Red Rider’, another Dr. Ackerman’s cross between C. hiemalis ‘Shishigashira’ and C. oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’ (pollen), has single pink flowers and smaller leaves than ‘Winter’s Rose’. Unfortunately I was not able to grow it well because two plants I got had very weak root system and grafts were not successful.

One of the strangest sasanqua plants available is ‘Sasanqua Compacta’ – a cultivar from Nuccio’s Nurseries that has normal size leaves and large single white flowers, but abnormally short internodes. It is probably a consequence of some mutation that severely restricts the production of one of plant growth hormones or possibly broke some specific biochemical pathways related to the hormones without affecting other pathways. It would be an interesting experiment to graft ‘Sasanqua Compacta’ on some strong rootstock (like ‘Kanjiro’ and ‘Narumigata’) and see whether the graft starts growing normally when it is supplied by the growth hormones synthesized by its rootstock.

There are a lot of low-growing cultivars from Paradise Plants nursery in Australia, for example ‘Paradise Little Liane’, ‘Paradise Petite’, ‘Paradise Little Liane’ and others; they are claimed to be true miniatures, with small leaves and habit. However these cultivars are not available in the United States, probably because of export or propagation restrictions.

In order to create novelties, some hybridizers cross not just different cultivars of the same species but different species. There are several interesting species with small leaves from Paracamellia section, notably some varieties of Camellia grijsii, Camellia puniceiflora and Camellia microphylla.

Camellia grijsii has both large and small leaf varieties. The most distinctive feature of C. grijsii is its deep and clearly visible leaf veins. A wild form of C. grijsii has wavy single white flower. There is a rare Chinese cultivar Camellia grijsii ‘Zhenzhucha’ that has miniature rose-form double white flowers and small leaves (35-40 x 21-23 mm). It is very difficult to explain why this cultivar is not selling yet in every garden store in California and other Camellia states. The flowers are beautiful and the plant is easy to grow (especially when grafted). It is possible that this cultivar is a recent import from China – at the moment Camellia grijsii ‘Zhenzhucha’ is available in Nuccio’s Nurseries but nowhere else I am aware of. This cultivar produces a lot of seeds and might be a good potential parent.

Camellia puniceiflora is another species that has both large and small leaf varieties. The small leaf (37-40 x 16 mm) variety has small pink flowers with balls of bright yellow stamens. Camellia puniceiflora is easy to propagate using grafting; it produces a lot of seeds and can be used in hybridization. The only downside – it is not really a dwarf itself because it quite quickly grows into a large spreading bush with low density of leaves. Most plants I would call ‘dwarfs’ are dense and slow-growing.

Another non-dwarf plant with small leaves is ‘Starry Pillar’ (typical leaf 32×16 mm). This is a new cultivar from Nuccio’s Nurseries with masses of snow-white single flowers of the shape that suggests this is not a sasanqua, but an interspecies hybrid. Nevertheless ‘Starry Pillar’ is very sun-tolerant, just like true sasanqua cultivars. It also has a vertical habit with quite dense foliage. I never saw ‘Starry Pillar’ making seeds so it is difficult to tell whether it can be used in hybridization.

Another small-leaved cultivar with even more distinctive columnar habit is ‘Slim’N’Trim’, also from Nuccio’s Nurseries. Its leaf sizes vary widely but give it a sunny spot with not so much fertilizer, and it will grow into a dense column with small leaves (40 x 17 mm). ‘Slim’N’Trim’ makes medium-size single pink flowers with narrow petals and sometimes produces seeds.

Finally, there are several non-dwarf cultivars that are worth mentioning because their leaves are smaller than the leaves of average sasanqua and these cultivars possess at least some features useful for hybridization program. ‘Silverado’ from Nuccio’s Nurseries is slow-growing smaller leaf (45 x20 mm) cultivar with single white flowers and very rare silvery color of its leaves. ‘Enishi’ is a classical Japanese slow-growing cultivar with smaller than average sasanqua leaves (40-50 x 17-20 mm), drooping growth habit and rose-shape, almost formal double pink flowers. ‘Rosy Pillar’ is a new sasanqua from Nuccio’s Nursery with columnar habit, single pink flowers, smaller leaves (50 x 20 mm) and good seed production. ‘Shikoku Stars’ is a dense wild variety of Camellia sasanqua with many relatively small plain white flowers.

Silverado:

Enishi:

Rosy Pillar:

Shikoku Stars:

As we can see, there are very few sasanqua cultivars that can be truly called “Camellias for dwarfs and elves”. A relatively solid candidate for this title is Dwarf Shishi, other good candidates are ‘Jewel Box’ and ‘White Dwarf Shishi’. Rest of candidates can be called ‘dwarfs’ with some reservations – they are either not so dwarf, or not available in the United States, or require more than usual care to stay in shape and healthy. It is likely that a new generation of better dwarf camellias is going to be introduced in the future, and the most promising candidates are waiting both professional and amateur breeders on their seedling benches.

References

  1. Ackerman, William L. 2007. Beyond the Camellia Belt. Breeding, Propagating, and Growing Cold-Hardy Camellias. Batavia, Illinois: Ball Publishing.
  2. Camellia Forest Nursery Catalog. Fall 2007. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  3. Chang Hung Ta and Bruce Bartholomew. 1984. Camellias. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
  4. Gao Jiyin, Clifford R. Parks and Du Yueqiang. 2005. Collected Species of the genus Camellia. An illustrated outline. China.
  5. Japan Camellia Society. 1999. The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas (Nippon Tsubaki . Sasanqua Meikan). English Translation supervised by Thomas J. Savige.
  6. Macoboy, Stirling and Roger Mann. 1998. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Camellias. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
  7. Ming Tianlu. 2000. Monograph of the genus Camellia. Yunnan Science and Technology Press, Kunming, P.R. China
  8. Nuccio’s Nurseries Catalog. 2007-2008. Altadena, California.
  9. Riess Suzanne B. Toichi Domoto. A Japanese-American nurseryman’s life in California: floriculture and family, 1883-1992. Interviews Conducted by Suzanne B. Riess in 1992. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  10. Sealy, Robert J. 1958. A Revision of the Genus Camellia. London: The Royal Horticultural Society.
  11. Trehane, Jennifer. 2007. Camellias. The Gardener’s Encyclopedia. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.

Photo albums of the cultivars mentioned in the article
Фотоальбомы культиваров упомянутых в статье

  1. Dwarf Shishi
  2. Enishi
  3. Camellia grijsii
  4. Camellia grijsii ‘Zhenzhucha’
  5. Jewel Box
  6. Kira Shiro Kantsubaki
  7. Camellia puniceiflora, light variety
  8. Rosy Pillar
  9. Sasanqua Compacta
  10. Shikoku Stars
  11. Silverado
  12. Slim’N’Trim
  13. Starry Pillar
  14. Tanya
  15. Twinkle, Twinkle
  16. White Dwarf Shishi
  17. Winter’s Red Rider
  18. Winter’s Rose

Camellia grijsii

This month The International Camellia Society put two of my camellia photo pictures to the front page of their website. One is a picture of Camellia japonica ‘Kamo Honnami’ (see their website), and another is a picture of Camellia grijsii, a species related to C. sasanqua:

Camellia grijsii
C. grijsii

Camellia grijsii (长瓣短柱茶 in Chinese) Hance (1879) is a wild species of section Paracamellia. It is related to C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissii. It was collected in 1861 in Fujian by C.F.M. de Grijs. It is distributed in China (Fujian, Hubei, Sichuan, Guangxi) and used for a high-quality oil production. C. grijsii is closely related to another species – C. yuhsienensis, that is a parent of a popular cultivar ‘Yume’.

I got my two plants of C. grijsii from Nuccio’s Nurseries. The first one (shown above) has single white flowers and the second one is a double-flowered Chinese cultivar called ‘Zhenzhucha’:

Camellia grijsii 'Zhenzhucha'
Camellia grijsii ‘Zhenzhucha’

Camellia grijsii has great hybridizing potential. Two plants in my garden have small leaves with impressed veins and very columnar shape. I believe there are also varieties with larger leaves, but I am specifically interested in small-leaved cultivars.

Another great feature of C. grijsii is its cluster-flowering habit. However in my garden C. grijsii flowers from January to March, so it will be a challenge to cross it with Fall-flowering sasanquas. Probably I will have to store some pollen from sasanquas in refrigerator for a couple of months.

Another problem is chromosome number. According to Kondo and his associates it has a variety of chromosome numbers 2n = 30, 60, 75 and 90 (see the reference in Collected Species of the Genus Camellia, an Illustrated Outline by Gao Jiyin, Clifford R. Parks and Du Yuequiang).
Continue reading ‘Camellia grijsii’

Chinese names for species

Here is Chinese names of Camellia species from sections Oleifera and Paracamellia. Recent genetic research suggest that these sections should be grouped back together to the original Sealy’s section Paracamellia.

Sect. Oleifera H. T. Chang (油茶组)

C. gauchowensis H. T. Chang (高州油茶)
C. oleifera Abel (油茶)
C. vietnamensis T. C. Huang ex Hu (越南油茶)
C. sasanqua Thunb. (茶梅)
C. lanceoleosa H. T. Chang & J. S. Chiu (狭叶油茶)

Sect. Paracamellia Sealy (短柱茶组)

C. fluviatilis Hand.-Mazz. (窄叶短柱茶)
C. grijsii Hance (长瓣短柱茶)
C. yuhsienensis Hu (攸县油茶)
C. odorata L. S. Xie & Z. Y. Zhang (芳香短柱茶)
C. shensiensis H. T. Chang (陕西短柱茶)
C. confusa Craib (小果短柱茶)
C. kissi Wall. (落瓣短柱茶)
C. tenii Sealy (大姚短柱茶)
C. hiemalis Nakai (冬红短柱茶)
C. miyagii (Koidz.) Makino & Nemoto (琉球短柱茶)
C. brevistyla (Hayata) Coh. Stuart (短柱茶)
C. obtusifolia H. T. Chang (钝叶短柱茶)
C. puniceiflora H. T. Chang (粉红短柱茶)
C. microphylla (Merr.) Chien (细叶短柱茶)
C. maliflora Lindl. (樱花短柱茶)
C. phaeoclada H. T. Chang (褐枝短柱茶)

Sources:

Gao J-Y (高继银), Parks CR, Du Y-Q (杜跃强). 2005. Collected species of the genus Camellia an illustrated outline (山茶属植物主要原种彩色图集). Hangzhou: Zhejiang Science and Technology Press.

Lin X-Y (林秀艳), Peng Q-F (彭秋发), Lü H-F (吕洪飞), Du Y-Q (杜跃强), Tang B-Y (汤妣颖). 2008. Leaf anatomy of Camellia sect. Oleifera and sect. Paracamellia (Theaceae) with reference to their taxonomic significance. Journal of Systematics and Evolution (植物分类学报) 46:183–193. http://www.plantsystematics.com

Shen Jin-Bo, Lü H-F (吕洪飞), Peng Q-F (彭秋发), Zheng Ju-Fang, Tian Yu-Mei. 2008. FTIR spectra of Camellia sect. Oleifera, sect. Paracamellia, and sect. Camellia (Theaceae) with reference to their taxonomic significance. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 46 (2): 194–204. http://www.plantsystematics.com

Other species and hybrids

C. kissii. Wallich 1820. Was callected by botanist named Kiss. Wide range in Southeast Asia – SE China (Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan), Myanmar, Bhutan, northern India, Kampuchea, Laos, Nepal, Sikkim, Thailand and Vietnam. Highly variable, flowers have creamy yellowish tint, flowers in winter.

C. kissii. Wallich 1820. Was callected by botanist named Kiss. Wide range in Southeast Asia – SE China (Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan), Myanmar, Bhutan, northern India, Kampuchea, Laos, Nepal, Sikkim, Thailand and Vietnam. Highly variable, flowers have creamy yellowish tint, flowers in winter.

C. kissii. Wallich 1820. Was callected by botanist named Kiss. Wide range in Southeast Asia – SE China (Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan), Myanmar, Bhutan, northern India, Kampuchea, Laos, Nepal, Sikkim, Thailand and Vietnam. Highly variable, flowers have creamy yellowish tint, flowers in winter.

Buttermint. A hybrid of C. kissii. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California in 1997. Keeps creamy yellowish tint, inherited from C. kissii parent.

C. grijsii. Hance 1879. Was collected in 1861 in Fujian by C.F.M. de Grijs. Distributed in China: Fujian, Hubei, Sichuan, Guangxi. Tidy upright bushes, impressed veins, related to C. yuhsienensis that has larger flowers, there is a double form called ‘Zhenzhu Cha’. Grows to 11 ft (3 m) high, flowers winter to spring. C. yuhsienensis. Hu 1965. Discovered on the mountain Yuh Shan (You Xian) in Hunan in 1960s. Distributed in China: Hunan, Jiangxi, Hubei, Guangdong. Best quality oil of any species, grows to 11 ft (3 m) high, flowers winter to spring, parent of ‘Yume’. Chromosome numbers: 2n = 30, 45, 75 and 90 (Gu, et al., 1988; Kondo, 1990; Xiao, et al., 1991).

Yume. C. x hiemalis ‘Shishigashira’ x C. yuhsienensis. The name means “Dream” in Japanese. The flower has a very unusual alternation of white and pink petals. Originated in Japan.

Yume. C. x hiemalis ‘Shishigashira’ x C. yuhsienensis. The name means “Dream” in Japanese. The flower has a very unusual alternation of white and pink petals. Originated in Japan.

C. puniceiflora. Chang 1981. Distributed in China: Zhejiang, Hunan. Small leaves, grows up to 2 m (6 f) high.

C. puniceiflora. Chang 1981. Distributed in China: Zhejiang, Hunan. Small leaves, grows up to 2 m (6 f) high.

C. puniceiflora. Chang 1981. Distributed in China: Zhejiang, Hunan. Small leaves, grows up to 2 m (6 f) high.

C. puniceiflora. Chang 1981. Distributed in China: Zhejiang, Hunan. Small leaves, grows up to 2 m (6 f) high.

C. puniceiflora. Chang 1981. Distributed in China: Zhejiang, Hunan. Small leaves, grows up to 2 m (6 f) high.

C. brevistyla form. rubida. C. brevistyla (Hay.) Cohen Stuart (1916) form. rubida P. L. Chiu (1987). Distributed in China in hilly areas of Longquan in Zhejiang Province. Chromosome number: 2n = 30 (Kondo, 1977).

C. brevistyla form. rubida. C. brevistyla (Hay.) Cohen Stuart (1916) form. rubida P. L. Chiu (1987). Distributed in China in hilly areas of Longquan in Zhejiang Province. Chromosome number: 2n = 30 (Kondo, 1977).

Gingetsu Perkins. A misnamed cultivar, sent to Nuccio’s Nurseries, California. Possibly a sasanqua-reticulata hybrid.

Gingetsu Perkins. A misnamed cultivar, sent to Nuccio’s Nurseries, California. Possibly a sasanqua-reticulata hybrid.

Gingetsu Perkins. A misnamed cultivar, sent to Nuccio’s Nurseries, California. Possibly a sasanqua-reticulata hybrid.

Kai Mei’s Choice. C. sasanqua x (C. sasanqua x C. reticulata). Originated in Camellia Forest Nursery, North Carolina.

Stars’N’Stripes. A chance seedling of ‘Christmas Rose’ (Williams’ Lavender x Shishigashira). Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Stars’N’Stripes. A chance seedling of ‘Christmas Rose’ (Williams’ Lavender x Shishigashira). Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Stars’N’Stripes. A chance seedling of ‘Christmas Rose’ (Williams’ Lavender x Shishigashira). Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Stars’N’Stripes. A chance seedling of ‘Christmas Rose’ (Williams’ Lavender x Shishigashira). Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

A new small-leaved cultivar from Nuccio’s Nurseries – ‘Starry Pillar’


Starry Pillar

By foliage this cultivar is similar to ‘Jewel Box’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’. The habit is columnar and resembles ‘Slim’N’Trim’ and C. grijsii. The flower resembles C. grigsii species. A description from 2006-2007 Nuccio’s catalog:

STARRY PILLAR (N#9820) – Small single white, occasional tint of pink on edge and on bud. Small dark green foliage. Medium growing, columnar habit. (There are several features of this chance seedling that lead us to believe it may well be a Sasanqua-Tenuiflora hybrid.)
Continue reading ‘A new small-leaved cultivar from Nuccio’s Nurseries – ‘Starry Pillar’’

Camellia sasanqua botany (with pictures)

Camellia sasanqua botany (with pictures)

Yuri Panchul, June 2003


Camellia sasanqua ‘Shikoku Stars’. A wild variety.


Camellia miyagii

Contents


Camellia puniceiflora


Camellia brevistyla var. rubida

Taxonomy

There are three most recent classification systems of the genus Camellia frequently referred in Camellia literature: Sealy 1958 [4], Chang 1981 [1] and Ming 2000 [3].

Taxonomy – Sealy

J. Robert Sealy divided genus Camellia into 12 species group (sections). He put C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi into section Paracamellia, C. hiemalis and C. miyagii into unplaced (artificial) section Dubiae.

Sealy’s Paracamellia consisted of ten species. Their main feature was short styles and minimal fusion of floral parts.

In 1971 Dr. William L. Ackerman shown in his article [5] that C. hiemalis and C. miyagii freely hybridize with species of section Paracamellia and suggested they should be in one section.

Taxonomy – Chang

Chang Hung Ta (1981, [1]) divided genus Camellia into four subgenera and 20 sections. He put C. sasanqua and C. oleifera into section Oleifera of Camellia subgenus. Then he put C. kissi and C. miyagii into section Paracamellia of the same subgenus and C. hiemalis into section Camellia subsection Reticulata of the same genus.

We believe later Chang Hung Ta corrected C. hiemalis classification and put it back into section Paracamellia.

Chang stated that the reason five species should be put into a separate Oleifera section is because they have more stamen series and relatively longer styles. Xiao Tiaojiang and Clifford Parks (2002, [10]) doubted Chang’s reasons for dividing Paracamellia into two sections (Paracamellia and Oleifera). They noticed that wild forms of C. sasanqua (Changs’s section Oleifera) and C. miyagii (Chang’s section Paracamellia) are virtually identical and can be considered a one species. They also did DNA sequence analysis and found all species of Changs’s Oleifera section to be clustered with a group of species in Paracamellia section.

Xiao Tiaojiang and Clifford Parks also shown by DNA analysis that some of Chang’s Paracamellia species may be in fact not belonging to Paracamellia section, for example C. grijsii, C. odorata and C. yusienensis. They fall into the clade of section Camellia species from Western China.

Taxonomy – Ming

Ming Tianlu (2000, [3]) divided genus Camellia into two subgenera and 14 sections. We do not have his book so we cannot describe his treatment of Paracamellia species. Neither Sealy nor Chang recognized C. vernalis to be a separate species. In fact, many researchers consider C. vernalis to be a complicated sasanqua-japonica hybrid (see the details below). Some researches also consider C. hiemalis a sasanqua-japonica hybrid.

According to William Ackerman, when he traveled in 1980 on a plant exploration trip to western Japan, he saw wild populations of both C. sasanqua and C. japonica growing adjacent to each other, and intermingled. There were also obvious hybrids showing intermediate phenotypic characteristics. Ackerman’s cytological analysis of a series of C. vernalis cultivars showed chromosomal evidence of both 1st and 2nd generation hybridization.

On the other hand, Ackerman strongly disagree with those who consider C. hiemalis a hybrid with C. japonica parentage. He does not see neither cytological nor phenotypical evidence to support this.


Camellia x vernalis ‘Hiryu’. A parent of ‘Yuletide’.


Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’. A seedling of ‘Hiryu’.

Species

Species by Chang Hung Ta classification

Section Oleifera Chang

C. gauchowensis Chang (1961)
C. lanceoleosa
C. oleifera Abel (1818)
C. sasanqua Thunb. (1784)
C. vietnamensis Hung ex Hu (1965)

Section Paracamellia Sealy

C. brevistyla (Hay.) Cohen-Stuart (1908)
C. confusa (Craib) Cohen-Stuart (1916)
C. fluviatilis Hand.-Mazz. (1922). (Synonim C. kissi)
C. grijsii Hance (1879)
C. hiemalis Nakai (1940)
C. maliflolia Lindl. (1827)
C. microphylla (Merr.) Chien (1937)
C. miyagii (Koidz.) Mak. & Nem. (1931)
C. obtusifolia Chang (1981)
C. odorata
C. phaeoclada Chang (1981)
C. puniceiflora Chang (1981)
C. shensiensis Chang ex Chang (1981)
C. tenii Sealy (1949)
C. weiningensis Y.K. Li ex Chang (1981)
C. yuhsienensis Hu (1965)

Section Paracamellia Sealy – not in Chang’s list, but from the International Camellia Society website:

C. brevissima Chang & Liang (1982)
C. lutescens Dyer in Hook. (1874)
C. octopetala Hu in Acta Phytotax. Sin. vol.X, No.2, 1965
C. paucipetala Chang, (1984).


Camellia oleifera


Camellia hybrid ‘Winter’s Rose’. C. oleifera ‘Plain Jane’ x C. x hiemalis ‘Otome’. An Ackerman hybrid.

Compatibility

According to William L. Ackerman (1971, [5]), C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi of Sealy’s section Paracamellia hybridize with each other very readily. In Ackerman’s research the compatibility ratio of hybrids in relation to total cross-polunations was 29 percent, the highest withing any of the section he experimented.

Ackerman also hybridized hiemalis and C. miyagii of Sealy’s section Dubiae (Chang’s section Paracamellia). The compatibility ratio was 19 percent.

Ackerman also found that C. hiemalis and C. miyagii of Sealy’s section Dubiae hybridized as easily as when intrasectional crosses were made within Sealy’s section Paracamellia (C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi). The compatibility ratio was 18 percent for C. miyagii and 13 percent for C. hiemalis.

All these percentage numbers compare with just 9 percent for intrasectional crosses within section Camellia.

Ackerman indicated that C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi are ecospecies. He also suggested C. hiemalis and C. miyagii are ecospecies as well and should be put into Sealy’s section Paracamellia.

In Ackerman’s experiments section Thea appeared to be more closely related to section Paracamellia and to C. hiemalis and C. miyagii of Dubiae than to species of other sections.


Camellia kissii. A parent of ‘Buttermint’.


Camellia hybrid ‘Buttermint’. A seedling of C. kissii. Nuccio’s Nurseries, California, 1997.

Chromosomes

The basic chromosome number in the genus Camellia is 15. Different species have chromosome numbers of 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90. According to Ackerman [5] C. sasanqua, C. hiemalis, C. oleifera and C. miyagii are generally hexaploids (chromosome number 6X=90).

C. kissi is a diploid (2X=30).

C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ is a pentaploid (5X=75)

C. vernalis ‘Hirya’ was reported to be a triploid (3X=45) by Longley and Tourje (1959 [6], 1960 [7]).

Most C. japonica and C. sinensis are diploid (2X=30).

There are rare cases of triploid C. sinensis (3X=45).

The following numbers of chromosomes were reported by Ackerman [5] for crosses:

C. japonica 30 x C. kissi 30 = 30
C. kissi 30 x C. rusticana 30 = 30
             
C. japonica 30 x C. miyagii 90 = 60
             
C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ 75 x C. granthamiana 60 = 60
C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ 75 x C. reticulata 90 = 90
             
C. oleifera 90 x C. hiemalis 90 = 90
C. oleifera 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 90
C. reticulata 90 x C. sasanqua 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. hiemalis 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 86
C. sasanqua 90 x C. oleifera 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. reticulata 90 = 90

According to Ackerman [5] “‘Narumigata’, a pentaploid variety of C. sasanqua, produced hybrids when used as the female parent. However, the chromosome number of its hybrids seem unpredictable. A hybrid, A-24, resulting from C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ (5X=75) x C. granthamiana (4X=60) was tetraploid (4X=60). The morphological characters of this hybrid were intermediate. It is generally difficult to assess accurately the contribution of each parent to the hybrid in crosses involving polyploid species without the aid of genetical or cytological markers. However, ‘Narumigata’ may have produced an egg with 30 chromosomes, which united with a sperm carrying 30 chromosomes from C. granthamiana. A hybrid of C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ x C. reticulata (6X=90) was hexaploid. In this case, ‘Narumigata’ may have produced an egg cell with 45 chromosomes.”

William Ackerman also reports in his recent correspondence C. vernalis tetraploid (4X=60) and pentaploid (5X=75). This is what one would expect along the following lines, which substantiates the hybrid nature of C. vernalis:

  • 1st Generation (F1) hybrid between C. sasanqua 6X=90 x C. japonica 2X=30 with result in gametes 45 + 15 = 60 chromosomes (4X,tetraploid).
  • Backcross of resulting F1 hybrid to C. sasanqua: F1 hybrid 4X=60 x C. sasanqua 6X=90 will result in gametes 30 + 45 = 75chromosomes (5X, pentaploid).
  • Backcross of resulting F1 hybrid to C. japonica: F1 hybrid 4X=60 x C. japonica 2X=30 will result in gametes 30 + 15 = 45chromosomes (3X, triploid). This triploid will normally be sterile.


Camellia sasanqua ‘Narimugata’. Pentaploid.


Camellia x reticulata hybrid ‘Kai Mei’s Choice’. C. sasanqua x (C. sasanqua x C. reticulata), Camellia Forest Nursery.

Books


[1] Chang Hung Ta. 1981. A taxonomy of the genus Camellia. In Chinese. Acta Scientarum Naturalium Universitatis, Sunyatseni

Chang’s book was revised in 1998 (also in Chinese). English translation of 1981 Chang’s book is available on amazon.com:

[2] Chang Hung Ta, Bruce Bartholomew. 1984. Camellias. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

[3] Ming Tianlu. 2000. Monograph of the genus Camellia. Yunnan Science and Technology Press, Kunming, P.R. China

[4] J. Robert Sealy. 1958. A Revision of the Genus Camellia. The Royal Horticultural Society, London

It is possible to buy Sealy’s book on the Internet


Camellia x vernalis ‘Egao’. Means “smiling face” in Japanese.

Articles

[5] William L. Ackerman. 1971. Genetic and cytological studies with Camellia and related genera. Washington, D. C.

[6] Longley, A. E., and Tourje, E. C. Chromosome numbers of certain camellia species and allied genera. American Camellia Yearbook. 1959: 33-39.

[7] Longley, A. E., and Tourje, E. C. Chromosome numbers of certain camellia species and allied genera. American Camellia Yearbook. 1960: 70-72.

[8] Clifford Parks, K. Kondo and T.Swain. Phytochemical evidence for the genetic contamination of Camellia sasanqua Thunberg. Japanese Journal of Breeding 31(2):168

[9] John M. Ruter. Nursery production of Tea Oil Camellia under different light levels. Trends in new crops and new uses. 2002. J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.). ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

[10] Xiao Tiaojiang, Clifford Parks. 2002. Molecular analysis of the genus Camellia. University of North Carolina, USA.


Camellia grijsii


Camellia x yuhsienensis hybrid ‘Yume’. C. x hiemalis ‘Shishi Gashira’ x C. yuhsienensis, Dr. Kaoru Hagiya.

Camellia sasanqua botany

Yuri Panchul, June 2003

Contents

Taxonomy

There are three most recent classification systems of the genus Camellia frequently referred in Camellia literature: Sealy 1958 [4], Chang 1981 [1] and Ming 2000 [3].

Taxonomy – Sealy

J. Robert Sealy divided genus Camellia into 12 species group (sections). He put C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi into section Paracamellia, C. hiemalis and C. miyagii into unplaced (artificial) section Dubiae.

Sealy’s Paracamellia consisted of ten species. Their main feature was short styles and minimal fusion of floral parts.

In 1971 Dr. William L. Ackerman shown in his article [5] that C. hiemalis and C. miyagii freely hybridize with species of section Paracamellia and suggested they should be in one section.

Taxonomy – Chang

Chang Hung Ta (1981, [1]) divided genus Camellia into four subgenera and 20 sections. He put C. sasanqua and C. oleifera into section Oleifera of Camellia subgenus. Then he put C. kissi and C. miyagii into section Paracamellia of the same subgenus and C. hiemalis into section Camellia subsection Reticulata of the same genus.

We believe later Chang Hung Ta corrected C. hiemalis classification and put it back into section Paracamellia.

Chang stated that the reason five species should be put into a separate Oleifera section is because they have more stamen series and relatively longer styles. Xiao Tiaojiang and Clifford Parks (2002, [10]) doubted Chang’s reasons for dividing Paracamellia into two sections (Paracamellia and Oleifera). They noticed that wild forms of C. sasanqua (Changs’s section Oleifera) and C. miyagii (Chang’s section Paracamellia) are virtually identical and can be considered a one species. They also did DNA sequence analysis and found all species of Changs’s Oleifera section to be clustered with a group of species in Paracamellia section.

Xiao Tiaojiang and Clifford Parks also shown by DNA analysis that some of Chang’s Paracamellia species may be in fact not belonging to Paracamellia section, for example C. grijsii, C. odorata and C. yusienensis. They fall into the clade of section Camellia species from Western China.

Taxonomy – Ming

Ming Tianlu (2000, [3]) divided genus Camellia into two subgenera and 14 sections. We do not have his book so we cannot describe his treatment of Paracamellia species. Neither Sealy nor Chang recognized C. vernalis to be a separate species. In fact, many researchers consider C. vernalis to be a complicated sasanqua-japonica hybrid (see the details below). Some researches also consider C. hiemalis a sasanqua-japonica hybrid.

According to William Ackerman, when he traveled in 1980 on a plant exploration trip to western Japan, he saw wild populations of both C. sasanqua and C. japonica growing adjacent to each other, and intermingled. There were also obvious hybrids showing intermediate phenotypic characteristics. Ackerman’s cytological analysis of a series of C. vernalis cultivars showed chromosomal evidence of both 1st and 2nd generation hybridization.

On the other hand, Ackerman strongly disagree with those who consider C. hiemalis a hybrid with C. japonica parentage. He does not see neither cytological nor phenotypical evidence to support this.

Species

Species by Chang Hung Ta classification

Section Oleifera Chang

C. gauchowensis Chang (1961)
C. lanceoleosa
C. oleifera Abel (1818)
C. sasanqua Thunb. (1784)
C. vietnamensis Hung ex Hu (1965)

Section Paracamellia Sealy

C. brevistyla (Hay.) Cohen-Stuart (1908)
C. confusa (Craib) Cohen-Stuart (1916)
C. fluviatilis Hand.-Mazz. (1922). (Synonim C. kissi)
C. grijsii Hance (1879)
C. hiemalis Nakai (1940)
C. maliflolia Lindl. (1827)
C. microphylla (Merr.) Chien (1937)
C. miyagii (Koidz.) Mak. & Nem. (1931)
C. obtusifolia Chang (1981)
C. odorata
C. phaeoclada Chang (1981)
C. puniceiflora Chang (1981)
C. shensiensis Chang ex Chang (1981)
C. tenii Sealy (1949)
C. weiningensis Y.K. Li ex Chang (1981)
C. yuhsienensis Hu (1965)

Section Paracamellia Sealy – not in Chang’s list, but from the International Camellia Society website:

C. brevissima Chang & Liang (1982)
C. lutescens Dyer in Hook. (1874)
C. octopetala Hu in Acta Phytotax. Sin. vol.X, No.2, 1965
C. paucipetala Chang, (1984).

Compatibility

According to William L. Ackerman (1971, [5]), C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi of Sealy’s section Paracamellia hybridize with each other very readily. In Ackerman’s research the compatibility ratio of hybrids in relation to total cross-polunations was 29 percent, the highest withing any of the section he experimented.

Ackerman also hybridized hiemalis and C. miyagii of Sealy’s section Dubiae (Chang’s section Paracamellia). The compatibility ratio was 19 percent.

Ackerman also found that C. hiemalis and C. miyagii of Sealy’s section Dubiae hybridized as easily as when intrasectional crosses were made within Sealy’s section Paracamellia (C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi). The compatibility ratio was 18 percent for C. miyagii and 13 percent for C. hiemalis.

All these percentage numbers compare with just 9 percent for intrasectional crosses within section Camellia.

Ackerman indicated that C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissi are ecospecies. He also suggested C. hiemalis and C. miyagii are ecospecies as well and should be put into Sealy’s section Paracamellia.

In Ackerman’s experiments section Thea appeared to be more closely related to section Paracamellia and to C. hiemalis and C. miyagii of Dubiae than to species of other sections.

Chromosomes

The basic chromosome number in the genus Camellia is 15. Different species have chromosome numbers of 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90. According to Ackerman [5] C. sasanqua, C. hiemalis, C. oleifera and C. miyagii are generally hexaploids (chromosome number 6X=90).

C. kissi is a diploid (2X=30).

C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ is a pentaploid (5X=75)

C. vernalis ‘Hiryu’ was reported to be a triploid (3X=45) by Longley and Tourje (1959 [6], 1960 [7]).

Most C. japonica and C. sinensis are diploid (2X=30).

There are rare cases of triploid C. sinensis (3X=45).

The following numbers of chromosomes were reported by Ackerman [5] for crosses:

C. japonica 30 x C. kissi 30 = 30
C. kissi 30 x C. rusticana 30 = 30
             
C. japonica 30 x C. miyagii 90 = 60
             
C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ 75 x C. granthamiana 60 = 60
C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ 75 x C. reticulata 90 = 90
             
C. oleifera 90 x C. hiemalis 90 = 90
C. oleifera 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 90
C. reticulata 90 x C. sasanqua 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. hiemalis 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. miyagii 90 = 86
C. sasanqua 90 x C. oleifera 90 = 90
C. sasanqua 90 x C. reticulata 90 = 90

According to Ackerman [5] “‘Narumigata’, a pentaploid variety of C. sasanqua, produced hybrids when used as the female parent. However, the chromosome number of its hybrids seem unpredictable. A hybrid, A-24, resulting from C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ (5X=75) x C. granthamiana (4X=60) was tetraploid (4X=60). The morphological characters of this hybrid were intermediate. It is generally difficult to assess accurately the contribution of each parent to the hybrid in crosses involving polyploid species without the aid of genetical or cytological markers. However, ‘Narumigata’ may have produced an egg with 30 chromosomes, which united with a sperm carrying 30 chromosomes from C. granthamiana. A hybrid of C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ x C. reticulata (6X=90) was hexaploid. In this case, ‘Narumigata’ may have produced an egg cell with 45 chromosomes.”

William Ackerman also reports in his recent correspondence C. vernalis tetraploid (4X=60) and pentaploid (5X=75). This is what one would expect along the following lines, which substantiates the hybrid nature of C. vernalis:

  • 1st Generation (F1) hybrid between C. sasanqua 6X=90 x C. japonica 2X=30 with result in gametes 45 + 15 = 60 chromosomes (4X,tetraploid).
  • Backcross of resulting F1 hybrid to C. sasanqua: F1 hybrid 4X=60 x C. sasanqua 6X=90 will result in gametes 30 + 45 = 75chromosomes (5X, pentaploid).
  • Backcross of resulting F1 hybrid to C. japonica: F1 hybrid 4X=60 x C. japonica 2X=30 will result in gametes 30 + 15 = 45chromosomes (3X, triploid). This triploid will normally be sterile.

Books


[1] Chang Hung Ta. 1981. A taxonomy of the genus Camellia. In Chinese. Acta Scientarum Naturalium Universitatis, Sunyatseni

Chang’s book was revised in 1998 (also in Chinese). English translation of 1981 Chang’s book is available on amazon.com:

[2] Chang Hung Ta, Bruce Bartholomew. 1984. Camellias. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

[3] Ming Tianlu. 2000. Monograph of the genus Camellia. Yunnan Science and Technology Press, Kunming, P.R. China

[4] J. Robert Sealy. 1958. A Revision of the Genus Camellia. The Royal Horticultural Society, London

It is possible to buy Sealy’s book on the Internet

Articles


[5] William L. Ackerman. 1971. Genetic and cytological studies with Camellia and related genera. Washington, D. C.

[6] Longley, A. E., and Tourje, E. C. Chromosome numbers of certain camellia species and allied genera. American Camellia Yearbook. 1959: 33-39.

[7] Longley, A. E., and Tourje, E. C. Chromosome numbers of certain camellia species and allied genera. American Camellia Yearbook. 1960: 70-72.

[8] Clifford Parks, K. Kondo and T.Swain. Phytochemical evidence for the genetic contamination of Camellia sasanqua Thunberg. Japanese Journal of Breeding 31(2):168

[9] John M. Ruter. Nursery production of Tea Oil Camellia under different light levels. Trends in new crops and new uses. 2002. J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.). ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

[10] Xiao Tiaojiang, Clifford Parks. 2002. Molecular analysis of the genus Camellia. University of North Carolina, USA.