History of naming the Camellia
The beautiful Camellia was named by Linnaeus to honor a 17th century Jesuit pharmacist born in Brno Moravia (now the Czech Republic.)
As an adult, Georg Josef Kamel was a medical missionary and botanist in Manila and on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. While there, he wrote an account of the plants he discovered. Excerpts from his account were published by his correspondent John Ray, a fellow botanist from England As was a common practice of the day, Kamel's name was Latinized to Camellius.
Camellias are a member of the Theacea (tea) family and are somewhat tender plants that are prized for their blooms that appear in fall or mid-winter.
Camellias have been part of the fabric of our community for well over a century. It seems that almost every older home has at least one camellia that was planted decades ago. And so many of us recognize the white Alba Plena, the red and purple Mathotiana, the red Professor Sargent and the classic Pink Perfection. But there are actually over 3,000 registered camellias in the Japonica species alone. There are hundreds more in the Sasanqua and Reticulata family. In recent decades many hybrids have been developed by crossing varieties of two different camellia species. Pensacola area hobbyists have also been busy developing and registering over 100 new camellia varieties over the past eight decades. One of the most commonly asked questions we hear is “can you help me identify this camellia”. Sometimes we can, but with so many varieties identification can be very difficult.
On this page you will find links to some of the best web sites from around the world, including the American Camellia Society, which we regularly use to study camellia photos for identification purposes and just for fun. The first link provides photos and descriptions of our known Pensacola varieties. Be careful --- you can spend hours looking at these sites.