|Author: ||B. Yinger|
Camellia japonica is a large shrub or small tree native to a broad band of territory in East Asia, including parts of China (Shandong, Zhejiang), Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
It is found in mountainous areas and frequently on rocky hillsides near the ocean.
Cultivated forms of Camellia japonica were introduced to Europe in the early 1700s and to the United States of America in the early 1800s, where they eventually became a familiar feature of southern gardens.
The earliest introductions were mostly, if not all, Chinese cultivated cultivars, followed by many introductions from Japan.
Until recently, the outdoor cultivation of camellias in the eastern United States was limited to U.S.D.A. Zones 7 to 9. Washington D.C. was considered to be the northern limit of hardiness, and even there most camellias were killed or severely injured in the coldest winters.
Unusually cold weather in the late 1970s and early 1980s killed almost all of the 900 cultivars of camellias at the U.S. National Arboretum.
Except for a few plants in the most favorable coastal locations along the Atlantic coast as far north as Martha’s Vineyard, camellias were impossible to grow outside the South without protection from winter wind and cold.
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