Tag Archive for 'Shishigashira'

A new catalog from Camellia Forest Nursery, Fall 2008 – my review

Camellia Forest Nursery is a nursery in North Carolina managed by Kai Mei and David Parks. Kai Mei is a wife of Dr. Clifford Parks (one of the authors of “Collected Species of the Genus Camellia”, 2005) and David Parks is their son.

Mieko Tanaka

The most interesting sasanqua hybrid offered this year is a true red ‘Mieko Tanaka’. Almost all previous “red” sasanquas were actually dark pinks (for example ‘Bonanza’ and ‘Reverend Ida’). The only previous true red was ‘Yuletide’, a chance seedling of Hiryu, originated in Nuccio’s Nurseries back in 1963.

The basic problem with red color is that wild C. sasanqua has no red (or pink) pigment – anthocyanin.

According to Dr. Takayuki Tanaka and other researchers, all pink sasanqua cultivars probably originated from an ancient C. japonica x sasanqua hybrid approximately 400 years ago almost definitely in Japan. The estimation 400 years comes from chloroplast genome DNA (cpDNA) analysis. Additionally, athocyanin chromatography demonstrates that all pink sasanquas (together with x hiemalis and x vernalis hybrids) share the form of anthocyanin with C. japonica and does not have pigments specific for C. reticulata and C. saluensis.

Based on this information, Dr. Tanaka was working on sasanqua-japonica hybridization and finally he developed a cultivar ‘Mieko Tanaka’ (C. x vernalis ‘Gaisen’ x C. japonica).

Plain Jane, O’Nishiki, Winter’s Rose and Winter’s Red Rider

Another important cultivar now available for sale in Camellia Forest Nursery is C. oleifera ‘Plain Jane’. This plain white flower has two distinctive quantities.

First of all, it is one of the most cold-hardy camellias, used by Dr. William Ackerman for his cold-hardiness hybridization program. For example, Dr. Ackerman claims that his cultivar ‘Winter’s Rose’ (C. oleifera ‘Plain Jane’ x C. x hiemalis ‘Otome’) can survive winter temperatures down to -15 F / -26 C.

Second, according to Dr. Ackerman, ‘Plain Jane’ may be used to create dwarf cultivars that are useful as patio and bonsai plants. Particularly, ‘Winter’s Rose’ is also a dwarf camellia. When Dr. Ackerman crossed ‘Plain Jane’ with C. sasanqua ‘O’Nishiki’, he got 3:1 mendelian ratio between normal and dwarf seedlings. This suggested that both ‘Plain Jane’ and ‘O’Nishiki’ carry heterozygous alleles of a dwarfiness gene. (Yes, I know that both plants are hexaploids – so an additional explanation from Dr. Ackerman is needed).

Luckily I got cuttings of ‘O’Nishiki’ last Summer from Mr. Garet Uemura who lives in Hawaii. Thank you, Mr. Uemura!
Continue reading ‘A new catalog from Camellia Forest Nursery, Fall 2008 – my review’

Double pinks

Shishigashira. C. x hiemalis. Means “Lion’s Head” in Japanese. Originated and spread in Kansai and Chubu. First mentioned in Engeikai Zasshi in 1894. Called ‘Kan-tsubaki’ in Kanto area since 1933.

Kanjiro. C. x hiemalis. Introduced by Takii & Co. Ltd., Japan in 1954. Originated in Aichi Prefecture. The original tree was raised in Inazawa City. Sometimes single, sometimes semi-double. Very vigorous, widely used for rootstock.

Jean May. Originated by Ralph May, Gerbing’s Camellia Nursery of Fernandino, Florida in 1951. The flower has a very special shade of light pink.

Jean May. Originated by Ralph May, Gerbing’s Camellia Nursery of Fernandino, Florida in 1951. The flower has a very special shade of light pink.

Semi-formal pinks

Chansonette. Introduced in 1958. A seedling of ‘Shishigashira’.

Enishi. Means “Charming Appearance” in Japanese. It is probably a synonym of 艶姿 (あですがた, Adesugata, “Sexy female body”). Originated in Kumamoto. A seedling of a seed given to Kiyofusa Saito by Shigeru Sugiyama. This cultivar is recognized by Higo Sasanqua Society.

Sarrel. A recent origination from Bobby Green in Fairhope, Alabama. Available from Camellia Forest Nursery, North Carolina. Very spreading, can be kept under 2 feet tall with pruning.

Sarrel. A recent origination from Bobby Green in Fairhope, Alabama. Available from Camellia Forest Nursery, North Carolina. Very spreading, can be kept under 2 feet tall with pruning.

Dark pinks

Bonanza. C. x hiemalis, seedling of ‘Crimson Bride’. Originated by Tom Dodd Jr, Semmes, Alabama in 1962.

Bonanza. C. x hiemalis, seedling of ‘Crimson Bride’. Originated by Tom Dodd Jr, Semmes, Alabama in 1962.

Reverend Ida. A seedling of Shishigashira with deeper and more reddish color. A recent origination from Bobby Green in Fairhope, Alabama. Available from Camellia Forest Nursery, North Carolina.

Reverend Ida. A seedling of Shishigashira with deeper and more reddish color. A recent origination from Bobby Green in Fairhope, Alabama. Available from Camellia Forest Nursery, North Carolina.

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.

Low growing and small foliage

Dwarf Shishi. A seedling of ‘Shishigashira’. Originated by Toichi Domoto, California in 1988.

Dwarf Shishi. A seedling of ‘Shishigashira’. Originated by Toichi Domoto, California in 1988.

Jewel Box

Jewel Box

Twinkle, Twinkle. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Sasanqua Compacta. Very short leaf internodes. From Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Sasanqua Compacta. Very short leaf internodes. From Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Slim’N’Trim. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Slim’N’Trim. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California.

Starry Pillar (N#9820). A chance seedling, might be a sasanqua-tenuiflora hybrid. Columnar habit. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries.

Starry Pillar (N#9820). A chance seedling, might be a sasanqua-tenuiflora hybrid. Columnar habit. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries.

Tanya. Introduced by Coolidge Rare Plants, east Pasadena, California in 1937. Produced from a seed imported from Japan in 1927.

Tanya. Introduced by Coolidge Rare Plants, east Pasadena, California in 1937. Produced from a seed imported from Japan in 1927.

A book from the Japanese Camellia Society ‘The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas’


'The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas'. The Japanese Camellia Society.

“The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas” ( 日本ツバキ・サザンカ名鑑 , Nippon Tsubaki ・ Sasanqua Meikan) is another “must have” book for any serious sasanqua lover. This book was published in 1999 by the Japanese Camellia Society ( 日本ツバキ協会編 , Nippon Tsubaki Kyoukai Hen) and Seibundo Shinkosha Co. Ltd. ( 誠文堂 新光社 ). This book is a work of more than 50 people who collected high-quality photo pictures and information on more than 2200 japonica and 200 sasanqua cultivars.

The book consists of two volumes – a volume in Japanese with pictures and a volume with English translation, created under the supervision of Thomas J. Savige. Note that in the book “The Japanese Camellia Society” is referred as “The Japan Camellia Society”.

The book has a short preface (4 pages), telling the history of the Japanese Camellia Society and the history of the book publication.

The Japanese Camellia Society was formed after the WWII, shortly after the formation of the International Camellia Society in 1953. It was the time of worldwide surge of interest in camellia growing and hybridizing.

The first nomenclature publication “Japanese Camellias, a Collection of 1000 varieties” ( 日本の椿、千品種 , Nippon no tsubaki, Senhin-shu) was published in 1980, but it included only Camellia japonica ( 椿, tsubaki ) and had no infomation about sasanqua ( 山茶花 , sazanka).

After the International Camellia Society published a monumental International Camellia Register in 1993 with 22,000 cultivars, it became obvious that the Japanese nomenclature publication has to be updated. However, according to the Japanese Camellia Society, during the economic boom time, no Japanese publisher wanted to publish a camellia book, because of its low profitability – there were plenty of more profitable books around. So Japanese camellia lovers had to wait until the economy goes down!

After the preface, the book presents information about 2400 cultivars. Each cultivar’s information has a photo picture and a 100-Kanji description. Some cultivars have no photo pictures – they are described in the appendix. The description is brief and very informative – it describes the cultivar’s area of origin, color, shape, habit, name of the originator and first mention in the literature. I wish similar American publications (like Southern California Camellia Society) use the same style.

Finally, after more than 300 pages of cultivars, the book has a chapter about the camellia history (3 pages), an afterword (1 page), a translator’s note (1 page) and an index. I personally like this style because it is down to the point.

The chapter about camellia history is written by the President of the Japanese Camellia Society Dr. Kaoru Hagiya ( 薫屋薫 ). It contains an interesting thought about why Japanese people prefer single flowers while Westerners prefer double formal flowers: ”The fundamental difference is in that the Westerners treat flowers as kinds of decorations, while Japanese take flowers as the symbols of nature”.

The afterword is written by Shuho Kirino ( 桐野秋豊 ), a member of the editorial committee.

There is a translator’s note from Shigeo Matsumoto ( 松本重雄 ) who is asking forgiveness for his translation errors. I did find some ambiguities – for example, about the origin of ‘Shôwa-no-sakae’. However I personally like his style of translation because it has a feeling of the Japanese character. If the translator would be non-Japanese, the text would be less authentic.

Shigeo Matsumoto was using help from Thomas J. Savige from Australia who suggested to use Hepburn system in the translation according to the International Nomenclature Code. This is very important. Different books use different forms of English transliteration of Japanese names. For example ‘Shôwa-no-sakae’ is written as ‘Showa No Sakae’, or ‘Shishigashira’ is written as ‘Shishi Gashira’ or ‘Shishi Gashira’. It is important to understand that pronouncing “o” instead of “ô” may change the meaning of the word. However we are still using non-accented “o” on our www.sazanka.org web site because of English search engines. But the bottom line – “The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas” became for me the main reference for the proper name, pronunciation and the history of Japanese sasanqua cultivars.

This beauty shows its colors early

A couple of week ago I got a call from journalist Lili Singer, who needed some information about Camellia sasanqua for her article in Los Angeles Times. Today this article was published. You can see my sasanqua cultivar recommendations in the article.

Dwarf Shishi. A seedling of ‘Shishigashira’. Originated by Toichi Domoto, California in 1988.

You can get the article from LA Times archive: http://tinyurl.com/64cyo7

Continue reading ‘This beauty shows its colors early’