This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Camellia Japonica. Rose Camellia.
Calyx imbricatus, polyphyllus: foliolis interioribus majoribus.
CAMELLIA japonica foliis acute serratis acuminatis. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. p. 632. Thunberg Fl. Japon. t. 273.
TSUBAKI Kempfer Amoen. 850. t. 851.
ROSA chinensis. Ed. av. 2. p. 67. t. 67.
THEA chinensis pimentae jamaicensis folio, flore roseo. Pet. Gaz. t. 33. fig. 4.
This most beautiful tree, though long since figured and described, as may be seen by the above synonyms, was a stranger to our gardens in the time of Miller, or at least it is not noticed in the last edition of his Dictionary.
It is a native both of China and Japan.
Thunberg, in his Flora Japonica, describes it as growing every where in the groves and gardens of Japan, where it becomes a prodigiously large and tall tree, highly esteemed by the natives for the elegance of its large and very variable blossoms, and its evergreen leaves; it is there found with single and double flowers, which also are white, red, and purple, and produced from April to October.
Representations of this flower are frequently met with in Chinese paintings.
With us, the Camellia is generally treated as a stove plant, and propagated by layers; it is sometimes placed in the greenhouse; but it appears to us to be one of the properest plants imaginable for the conservatory. At some future time it may, perhaps, not be uncommon to treat it as a Laurustinus or Magnolia: the high price at which it has hitherto been sold, may have prevented its being hazarded in this way.
The blossoms are of a firm texture, but apt to fall off long before they have lost their brilliancy; it therefore is a practice with some to stick such deciduous blossoms on some fresh bud, where they continue to look well for a considerable time.
Petiver considered our plant as a species of Tea tree; future observations will probably confirm his conjecture.