Camellia Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Uses You Should Know

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The camellias look like an excessively petalled rose flower when you take a closer look. It is one of the most favorite ornamental flowers grown in many various colors and adored in many gardens and bouquets. 

Behind the numerous or possibly few numbers of petals, each species may have an equal list of meaning and symbolism this flower holds. If you are just that curious, this will be an additional flora for your garden in no time once you have read this!

Camellias come in many colors such as white, red, pink, and yellow each with its own different meanings. A white and red camellia means adoration and honor. Meanwhile, a pink and yellow one symbolizes beauty and gratitude.

History of Camellia Flowers

Camellia flowers have a very rich history. The camellias are just about as old as the rhododendrons and azaleas. The Chinese cultivated the plant and its flowers for tea as early as 2700 B.C while the Japanese followed in 1100. Amazingly though, the name was first formally used in 1753 to define a rose-like flower with glossy leaves.

The genus Camellia comes from the word Camellus which was honored by Carl Linnaeus for the late Reverend and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, a Moravian Jesuit missionary in the Philippines. This genus consists of over 250 flowering species and belongs to the tea or Theaceae family.

Moreover, it is also an evergreen small tree or shrub native to China and other countries in Asia. It blooms in the early spring and is popularly known as the source of tea. The major species under the genus include the Tea plant (Camellia sinensis / Thea sinensis), Sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua), Yennan camellia (Camellia reticulata), and the common Camellia (Camellia japonica).

pink camellia flower

Symbolism of a Camellia Shrub

The symbolism camellia flower has is something truly amazing and deep. Camellias are known to have an interesting symmetrical accuracy that it is known as a symbol of perfection and excellence. 

For some cultures, it represents being steadfast and excellent in service and daily tasks. It is also as symbolic as a good luck gift for a man or love passion. In sending a message to admirers, this flower symbolizes the phrase I will love you always, everlasting love, or even love and devotion.

In Japanese symbolism, these flowers are sadly a herald of sudden death and despair. In provincial China, the Yunnan camellia is the official flower of the province. It blooms during the start of the Chinese New Year until late April and represents the union of two lovers.

Meaning of Camellia Flowers

The most popularized camellia meaning came from the novel written by Alexandre Dumas. La dame aux camélias is a story about a young man having an unrequited affair with Marguerite, a high courtesan. Upon her father’s knowledge, he separated the two and brought Marguerite to her death of tuberculosis. 

These blooms were an embodiment of longing for someone dear to you and are a heartbreaking interpretation of the tragedy in the book. Amidst the chaos that unfolded, the camellia flower meanings also signified Marguerite’s loveliness, excellence, and a deep desire.

There are many camellia types and colors, let’s take a closer look at some of them.

What does a White Camellia Flower Mean?

Most white flowers hold an abundance of meanings and symbols. It can send one the message: you are adorable, wonderful, or perfect. White camellias can also symbolize one’s deep adoration for another or on the contrary, one’s solemnity. 

What does a Red Camellia Blossom Symbolize?

Red camellia flowers are also symbolic of someone special or beloved being the flame in their heart. It bears the image of excellence and honor or good luck. Aside from this, red camellias are bold color motifs for passion.

red camellia flower

What does a Pink Camellia Floret Represent?

A bountiful and long life is associated with calming pink Camellias. The blossoms also embody the beauty and attractiveness of women. Surprisingly, its historical representation is the display of sophistication women have portrayed through the years.

What does a Yellow Camellia Bloom Indicate?

Yellow species of camellias indicate one’s longing and waiting for someone dear and beloved. It indicates the gratitude of the times that have passed and the lessons learned. 

What is the Cultural Significance of Camellia Flowers?

The beauty of these flowers has a deep influence on eastern culture and western culture from the Asian continent. In Japanese culture, the people associated the Higo Camellia as a symbol of the country’s most noble families and samurai warriors honoring their endurance, bravery, and fearlessness. Aside from this, flowers were also believed to be a display of the transience of life and an image of prosperity during the glory of the morning. 

In the Victorian era, these blossoms bear a different message in the language of flowers. The Camellias symbolized your destiny being in your own hands and are mainly the reason why they are found adorned in graves and mausoleums. As a matter of fact, they also believed that giving this flower sends a message of coldness and detachment.

What is the Biblical Meaning and Spiritual Influence of Camellia Blooms?

Pink and white petalled floral species hold a spiritual influence on admirers and healers. Like the image of the Divine Mother, the flowers are a symbol of Her femininity, gentleness, and beauty. It does not strive for strength, control, nor power. 

In the sense of spiritual healing, the flowers offer the gifts of wisdom, friendship, good-flowing energy, humility, and radiating confidence.

What does a Camellia Floral Tattoo Symbolize?

This floral tattoo design imparts not only a woman’s beauty and purity but also her heartbreaking past of a separation and suffering heart.

Uses of the Camellia Plant

Most people love camellias and are the perfect flower to decorate these in gardens, bouquets, and cut flower vases. It is a great gift to give to a special someone. Something amazing about this plant is that when the flower dies, the petals fall down and form a beautiful carpet on the ground. Aside from this, the plant and its other parts have other uses in the medicinal and agricultural industries.

The plant can also be made into camellia tea. The tea plant’s oil residues are commonly used as a control treatment for various insects such as rice blast, culm blight of rice, rice hoppers, cotton aphids, and scale insects. Surprisingly from the pink or red petals of the flowers, a green dye can also be made!

The plants and their other parts contain numerous properties. These include but are not limited to antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties which makes drinking tea such a healthy thing to do!

Several countries such as India, Mexico, China, Guatemala, Kenya, and Thailand used hot water for the extracts from dried leaves or buds to treat headaches and fever, delay tooth decay, fight bacterial infections, and induce lactation in breastfeeding mothers or abortion in pregnant women. Surprisingly, research on extracts of camellia were discovered to aid in morphine addiction.

This method also treats hypertension, conjunctivitis, corneal opacities, or can be taken in as a heart or brain tonic. Moreover, the leaves can also be eaten fresh to treat diarrhea as practiced in Turkey. A word of warning that it’s a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.

See more: How to care for camellias

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