This new little camellia looks very unusual for anybody except probably a hardcore Camellia botanist. The flowers of ‘Tiny Gem’ are tiny, stamens have orangish tint, small dark leaves are unusually serrated, stem nodes and internodes do not look like anything in japonica-sasanqua-reticulata world. In addition, ‘Tiny Gem’s’ growth habit is chaotic and the plant requires full shade to grow well.
According to Tom Nuccio, the originator of ‘Tiny Gem’, this plant is likely to be a seedling of C. fraterna, a species from Theopsys section of Camellia genus. Now if we look into Ming Tien Lu’s book about camellia species, we find that Theopsys clade is very distant from Paracamellia clade where C. sasanqua belongs. In fact, Theopsys is much closer to tea plant – Camellia sinensis of Thea section of the genus.
Therefore it is unlikely I can ever cross any relative of C. sasanqua with ‘Tiny Gem’. So I don’t need this cultivar. But if you like strange compact plants for your shady patio, this plant might be just right for you. If you live in northern California and want to get this plant from me – see the details at ANNUAL GIVEAWAY OF CAMELLIAS