Herb: Camellia

Latin name: Camellia sasanqua

Synonyms: Thea sasanqua

Family: Theaceae (Tea Family)

Medicinal use of Camellia:

Demulcent, expectorant.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

to April


Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and grassy slopes in mountains, S. Japan. Forest openings.

Edible parts of Camellia:

The oil obtained from the seed is edible if it is refined. It is said to be equal in quality to olive oil. The leaves are mixed with tea to give it a pleasant aroma.

Other uses of the herb:

A non-drying oil is obtained from the seed - used as a hair-dressing and textile oil. A green dye is obtained from the pink or red petals. A decoction of the plant (could this refer to the oil in the seed??) is used as a soap substitute for washing oily clothes. Plants can be used as a hedge. The cultivar "Onigoromo" has been especially mentioned for this purpose.

Propagation of Camellia:

Seed - can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and the hard covering around the micropyle should be filed down to leave a thin covering. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 23C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall and give them some protection from winter cold for their first year or three outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, August/September in a shaded frame. A high percentage take, but they are slow to root. Cuttings of firm wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, end of June in a frame. Keep in a cool greenhouse for the first year. Leaf-bud cuttings, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets and grassy slopes in mountains, S. Japan. Forest openings.

Known hazards of Camellia sasanqua:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.