The various species of camellia plants are generally well-adapted to acidic soils rich in humus, and most species do not grow well on chalky soil or other calcium-rich soils. Most species of camellias also require a large amount of water, either from natural rainfall or from irrigation, and the plants will not tolerate droughts. However, some of the more unusual camellias – typically species from karst soils in Vietnam – can grow without too much water.
Camellia plants usually have a rapid growth rate. Typically they will grow about 30 cm per year until mature – though this does vary depending on their variety and geographical location.
Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. While the finest teas are produced by C. sinensis thanks to millennia of selective breeding of this species, many other camellias can be used to produce a similar beverage. For example, in some parts of Japan, tea made from C. sasanqua leaves is popular.
Tea oil is a sweet seasoning and cooking oil made by pressing the seeds of C. oleifera, C. japonica, and to a lesser extent other species such as C. crapnelliana, C. reticulata, C. sasanqua and C. sinensis. Relatively little-known outside East Asia, it is the most important cooking oil for hundreds of millions of people, particularly in southern China.
Camellia oil is commonly used to clean and protect the blades of cutting instruments.
Camellia oil pressed from seeds of C. japonica, also called tsubaki oil or tsubaki-abura (椿油) in Japanese, has been traditionally used in Japan for hair care.
The first living camellias seen in England were a single red and a single white, grown and flowered in his garden at Thorndon Hall, Essex, by Robert James, Lord Petre, among the keenest gardeners of his generation, in 1739. His gardener James Gordon was the first to introduce camellias to commerce, from the nurseries he established after Lord Petre’s untimely death in 1743, at Mile End, Essex, near London. After that, with the interesting in those beautiful flowers of the wealthy people, Camellia start to be imported & grown widely in all Europe until today.
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