Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Alabama - state flower

Seems a bit strange that the state flower of Alabama is native to eastern and southern Asia.

The Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) is one of the best known species. It is a flowering shrub or a small tree. In it's natural habitats the wild plant of Camellia japonica grows to 6 to 9 meters (20-30 feet) tall. It has usually red, five-petalled flowersof 5-8 cm (2-3 in) diameter.

There are more than 2000 hybrids developed from 'Camellia japonica'.

The shade of the flowers can vary from red to pink to white and sometimes have multi-coloured stripes or specks.

Cultivation and uses

Camellia is of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. Many other camellias are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers. They are highly valued in Japan and elsewhere for their very early flowering, often among the first flowers to appear in the late winter.

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