Camellia sasanqua (var: Crimson King)
In the Court of the Crimson King
Camellia is a large genus with up to 300 species and over 3000 cultivars. One member of the genus, Camellia sinensis. is the source of black tea. After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world.
This is the flower of a Camellia sasanqua growing in my driveway. I’m told that you can make tea from this species too but I’ve never tried it. It always flowers at this time of year and it brings a bit of joy into an otherwise rainy January. This shrub is twenty years old and close to fifteen feet tall (450 cm). It’s growing on the shady side of the house and it likes that.
This particular variety has a fancy pedigree: ‘Crimson King’ was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.