Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro'
Kanjiro Camellia Plants
Camellia Kanjiro is a truly stunning cerise pink semi-double bloom edged in red with golden stamens and a slight fragrance. Makes a truly outstanding cut flower. Dense semi-weeping habit with glossy, dark green foliage.
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Tips for growing Camellia Kanjiro
Camellia Kanjiro produces sizable semi-double flowers in Cerise Pink. It is a slow growing upright to spreading shrub. With age it can become a small tree with oval glossy leaves with profuse late fall into winter blooms in milder climates. Camellia Kanjiro needs acidic well-drained soil and should be planted high (with the trunk base well above the soil line) in a protected climate free from extended heavy freezes. Mulching helps to keep roots cool.
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History and introduction of Camellias
Sometimes referred to as Christmas Camellias, the ‘sasanqua’ varieties of Camellia are native to the evergreen, coastal forests of southern Japan. It was introduced by Dutch traders into Europe in 1869. Camellia Kanjiro originated in Japan in 1954 of unknown parentage. The Japanese use the leaves of sasanqua camellias to make tea, and the seeds are pressed into tea seed oil for use as a lubricant and in cooking and cosmetics.
Today there are recognized over 200 different species of Camellia – all native to the Orient. The Camellia is known in Japan as Tsubaki. For many centuries, before the westernization of Japan, the native tsubaki or “tree with shining leaves” held a special place in Japanese thought. It was a belief of the Shinto religion that the gods in spirit form made the flowers of the tsubaki their home when on an earthly visit. Plantings of the tsubaki were an essential feature of temple gardens, graveyards, and other areas associated with the religious life of the community. Today, many old varieties of camellia may be found in the old temple compounds of Japan. Camellias are not as popular as cut flowers in Japan because they are associated with “beheading”. The camellia blossom often falls off the plant in its entirety, symbolic of a man’s head being cut off.The total number of named camellia varieties is believed to be as high as 20,000 including Camellia Kramer’s Supreme, although this figure is constantly increasing. The International Camellia Society published the International Camellia Register, an accumulation of over thirty years of research. This multi- volume book contains all but the latest camellia varieties from all countries of the world.
The most popular camellia throughout the world is often not even recognized as a member of this family. This plant is Camellia sinensis, better known as the tea plant. The word tea comes from the Chinese Amoy dialect for the word t’e. Tea is better known in China and Japan as ch’a from the Cantonese dialect. Tea first became popular in China during the reign of the Emperor Nung around 1700 B.C. During the period of trade, the East India Company brought tea from China to Europe where it became very popular. It may have first arrived in London in 1650, where it was known as Tay or Tee.
Tea quickly became a part of life and was known as “the cup that cheers but does not inebriate”. After tea became so universally popular, the government decided to place a tax on it which led to the Boston Tea Party and later to the American Revolution. So you might say that a camellia was the origin of the Revolution which created the United States as a separate country from Great Britain.
It is generally agreed that the Camellia japonica arrived in London aboard a boat of the East India Company. Tea was brought to Europe aboard boats of the East India Company from China. Officials tried to bring tea plants to England for propagation, but either by mistake or on purpose, plants of Camellia japonica were sent by the Chinese instead. The first japonica was growing in England some time before 1739 in the greenhouse of Lord Petre. Since that time, this has become the most popular of the ornamental camellias, with thousands of varieties having been named.
The Camellia was named by Linnaeus in honor of a Jesuit priest serving in the Philippines – Joseph Kamel. He probably never saw any plants, but this is not really known. Of the approximately 200 species of camellia known today, only a few are grown in the United States for their ornamental value.