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Column "Camellia" part 12

Why the camellias flower in this way

In Oshima, the earliest camellia flowers appear in September and the latest ones remain until the beginning of May. So you can see the camellia flowers for nearly half of the year. On the other hand, cherry blossoms, like “Somei-Yoshino” which many Japanese love and appreciate by having “hanami” (flower watching parties) bloom and fall simultaneously. So cherry blossoms have a period of full bloom but camellias don’t have such a period because of their long flowering season.

During the winter in Oshima, there are no insects that carry pollen with nectar when camellias flower. Instead, it is birds such as Mejiro (Japanese white-eye) or Hiyodori (brown eared Bullbul) that carry the pollen of the camellias. Because the number of pollenating birds is much lower than that of pollenating insects, the probability of pollination is much lower. That’s why camellias need such a long flowering season. The longer they keep flowering, the higher the probability of pollination becomes.

“Camellia Festival” may evoke the image of camellias in full bloom like cherry blossoms, but don’t be surprised if the camellia trees are not covered with flowers. Please keep this in mind.

In order to create a gorgeous first impression at Oshima Park, we are planting camellias that flower almost simultaneously during the camellia festival along the main road near the camellia garden’s gate.

It is better to enjoy camellia flowers by observing each one carefully much attention instead of enjoying the scenery of blossoms as a whole, like cherry blossoms. That is the way that masters of tea ceremony have appreciated camellia flowers for hundreds of years. Camellias have long been the flower of the Japanese tea ceremony. Please enjoy the harmony of green leaves and flowers of various colors along with images of the tea ceremony.


(left:Hiyodori right:Mejiro) 
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