Top quality camellia flowers can look too impeccable to be a plant.
This can often be too dramatic a claim for skeptics to digest. But take a look at one and any person would be convinced that the flower’s reputation is as deserving as it is justified.
It closely resembles a rose… but more perfectly shaped… and without thorns.
In fact, so markedly similar are the two that men sometimes purchase it by mistake for their partners on Valentines day.
What makes this plant stand out is that it blooms at the start of winter. And the contrast of it’s magnificent red against the white snowy backdrop gives it an attention-seeking presence.
Known in Chinese as shan cha (山茶) which is translated as mountain tea, or nai dong (耐冬) which means tolerance to winter, the flowers come in a diverse variety of colors. Those in yellow are termed golden flower. White flowers are associated with pure beauty.
But it is predominantly recognized as pink just like the azalea.
However, while the azalea is credited with femininity, the camellia has associations with masculinity as well.
So much so that it has a long history in Japanese culture regarding samurais and battles.
But above all else, the camellia flower is culturally displayed for it’s symbolism of harmony, friendship, and admiration. Making it a great gift for male recipients.
The flowering plant is also associated with the Horse zodiac and the Gemini astrology sign.
In feng shui, camellia flowers can add an element of red to a garden space to symbolize the fire energy.
They can also be appropriate display items on the dining table or coffee table.
Due to it’s association with winter season, it is often portrayed with other flowers such the narcissus and wintersweet.
When depicted with the Chinese bulbul bird, it represents nobility.
During the CNY festivities, camellia forms part of an auspicious floral arrangement consisting of itself, plum blossoms (or nandina), narcissus, and lingzhi. This conveys the wish for auspicious blessings.