Floral Friday: Camellias

Friday is a day for me to showcase my florals.  Not to mention learning about these blooms at the same time.  This week I have some Camellias. They are such a showy bush.  But when I think about them, I am always thinking of Camellia, Duchess of Cornwall.  For some reason, I don’t know why.

Camellias are evergreen shrubs or small trees up to 20 m (66 ft) tall. Their leaves are alternately arranged, simple, thick, serrated, and usually glossy. Their flowers are usually large and conspicuous, one to 12 cm in diameter, with five to nine petals in naturally occurring species of camellias. The colors of the flowers vary from white through pink colors to red; truly yellow flowers are found only in South China and Vietnam. Camellia flowers throughout the genus are characterized by a dense bouquet of conspicuous yellow stamens, often contrasting with the petal colors.[1][2] The so-called “fruit” of camellia plants is a dry capsule, sometimes subdivided in up to five compartments, each compartment containing up to eight seeds.

The various species of camellia plants are generally well-adapted to acidic soils rich in humus, and most species do not grow well onchalky soil or other calcium-rich soils. Most species of camellias also require a large amount of water, either from natural rainfall or fromirrigation, and the plants will not tolerate droughts. However, some of the more unusual camellias – typically species from karst soils inVietnam – 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 plants are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Camellia. Leaves of the Japanese Camellia (C. japonica) are susceptible to the fungal parasite Mycelia sterile (see below for the significance).

As usual I went to Wikipedia for my info. What I didn’t realise was the use of the leaves for making tea:

Use by humans

Camellia reticulata is very rare in the wild but common in culture

Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. While the finest teas[citation needed]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 importantcooking 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.[3]

They are a really popular shrub here in New Zealand.

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Cee’s Black and White Challenge: The Piper

The Piper

Good morning from a cool Hastings morning.  Autumn has hit us hard after the storm.

This week Cee at Cee’s Photography has asked for musical instruments, people, sheet music or audio devices for her black and white challenge this week. This was a hard one for me but then I remembered this photo from last year.  I always get goosebumps when I hear a lone piper.  This piper was shot during the ceremony to commemorate the 1931 earthquake.  He walked up the length of Heretaunga Street piping and people just stopped what they were doing to listen.  So it was an eerie silence with just the sounds of the pipes.

Please excuse the graininess. It was taken with my iPhone 5S and then heavily cropped.

 http://ceenphotography.com/2015/03/19/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-music-people-instruments-sheet-music-audio-devices/

Musical Ljubljana

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