Leisure & Culture #75

Nature Observation Notes: Camellia all over

Written & Photos by PMQ Life
Translated by Wendy Yiu

Planting seeds such as "Home Planting Teaching", "Nature Art", "Nature Observation Notes", etc., while keeping social distance, we also keep close to nature.

Starting off the year, people in Hong Kong like to go up the mountain. It is at this time the camellias bloom all over as if they are the new year blessings from nature. There are mainly two kinds of camellia in Hong Kong, red and white, as well as two local varieties.

A native plant of Hong Kong called Camellia hongkongensis was discovered by Lieutenant Colonel John Eyre in 1849 at Tai Ping Shan. The tender red petals and yellow stamens are smaller than 5 cm in full bloom, tiny and delicate with small fruit. Even the leaves are different from other camellias, thin and slender. Protected by law, but it is still an endangered species and is not commonly found in the mountains.

Another native species of camellia - Camellia crapnelliana, is a white-petaled flower with flowers up to 7-10 cm. Yellow stamens are long and dense. The bark is reddish-brown. Crapnell's camellia (Camellia crapnelliana) were found in 1903 at Mount Parker. It is unique in that it has large, hard fruits, like pears, whose seeds can extract more oil than ordinary camellias.

The most common in the mountains is Gordonia axillaris, which has the same white petals and yellow stamens. The flowers can reach more than 10cm, and the leaves are like inverted long ovals. Its fruit is not spherical, but a long wooden shape, like a fallen feather.

You will encounter different camellias in the mountains until March. Some have multiple petals, some have multiple stamens, like peonies, red and white, forming a beautiful mountain scenery.

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