‘Panaché de Gaujacq’ – one of only four striped sasanquas I ever saw

A couple years ago I went to Nuccio’s and Tom Nuccio gave me a scion of a rare Camellia sasanqua ‘Panaché de Gaujacq’, This is only one of four striped sasanquas I ever saw: ‘Stars’N’Stripes’ from Nuccio’s, ‘Autumn Carnival’ from Camellia Forest Nursery, ‘Panaché de Gaujacq’ and my own seedling Yuri Panchul #YP0108. Such varigation is caused by genetical mutations, unlike virus-induced variegation of blotched sasanquas. Today I got the first bloom of ‘Panaché de Gaujacq’ in my garden. Enjoy!

I made this picture in the morning light:

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I made this picture in the evening light:

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The former King of Red among sasanquas, Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’. Before ‘Mieko Tanaka’ appeared, ‘Yuletide’ was the closest to true red color cultivar in C. sasanqua group. Originated by Nuccio’s Nurseries, California in 1963. A seedling of ‘Hiryu’.


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Kira-Shiro-Kantsubaki, 吉良白寒椿

C. x hiemalis ‘Kira-shiro-kantsubaki’. 吉良白寒椿. Names means “Kira’s White Winter camellia”. Released in 1960s by Kira Firm of Nishio City.

Medium-compact, well-formed spreading plant with double white flowers of pretty shape. A modest but reliable seed producer.

I use it in my hybridization program because of habit, good shape of a double flower and seed production.

Comparison with other double white flowers:

Smaller than ‘Asakura’.

Larger and has better shape than ‘Paradise Little Liane’.

Less full than Seikaiha.

More interesting shape than ‘Silver Dollar’. Less bright white comparing to ‘Silver Dollar’.

Somewhat smaller than ‘White Doves’.

More interesting shape than ‘Dwarf Shishi’.


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Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’. A new introduction from Camellia Forest Nursery. The color is crimson pink, not true red like in ‘Yuletide’ and ‘Mieko Tanaka’. The flower shape is interestingly asymmetrical. This is a nice plant, but I will probably give it to somebody since 1) I already have both reds (‘Yuletide’, ‘Mieko Tanaka’) and dark pinks (‘Reverend Ida’, ‘Bonanza’) and 2) it does not fit into my hybridizing program (I am interested in small leaves and variegation)

Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’
Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’
Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’
Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’
Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’
Camellia sasanqua 'Midnight Lover'
Camellia sasanqua ‘Midnight Lover’

Featured giveaway – ‘Miss Ed’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Miss Ed’ is a very unreliable beauty. Sometimes (like 1 time out of 100) you get a strikingly beautiful flower from this plant, but 99 times out of 100 you don’t. Most ‘Miss Ed’ flowers suffer from a combination of not particularly well-formed petals with deformed stamens. I don’t mind the absence of stamens in reliable formal double plants like ‘Chansonette’, but if the stamens are present at all, they should look good. Unfortunately with ‘Miss Ed’ they usually don’t. In addition, I am not impressed with its growth habit – generally upright with somewhat chaotic branching and spreading. Having said that, I can show that sometimes ‘Miss Ed’ does looks good:

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Featured giveaway – ‘Sarrel’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Sarrel’ is a nice low-growing, almost creeping plant with large pink double flowers. Unfortunately it does not feet my breeding objectives (small leaves) so I gave it away.

Here is what Camellia Forest Nursery catalor says about it:

“This spreading plant could easily be kept under two feet tall with a little pruning or training of the branches. The first time my plant bloomed I had to run for the camera since it was a perfect formal double pink flower. The bloom peaks in mid season. This was introduced by Bobby Green.”

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Featured annual giveaway: ‘Gingetsu Perkins’

I got this plant from Tom Nuccio. Tom told me that he got it from a person named Perkins under the name ‘Gingetsu’. Obviously this plant is not ‘Gingetsu’ because the real ‘Gingetsu’ is a well-known white Camellia sasanqua, from Higo-sazanka group of cultivars, originated in Japanese province of Kumamoto.

I suspect this misnamed ‘Gingetsu Perkins’ might be a cross between C. sasanqua and C. reticulata. Its flower size is unusually big for sasanqua, but it has a good sun tolerange. It is also fast growing, upright and somewhat loose. It is much easier to cross C. sasanqua with C. reticulata than to cross C. sasanqua with C. japonica because of their chromosome counts. Both C. sasanqua and C. reticulata usually have 90 chromosomes, while C. japonica – just 30. For more information about Camellia chromosomes see Camellia sasanqua botany (with pictures).

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One of my ‘Gingetsu Perkins’ plants got what looks like a bud mutation, and produced a flower with petaloids:

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Featured annual giveaway: ‘Tiny Gem’

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

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Anemone form Camellia oleifera ‘Jaune’

Camellia oleifera is a relative of Camellia sasanqua. This gorgeous anemony-form ‘Jaune’ cultivar with a ball of yellow petaloids is very rare in the United States. Three years ago I got a scion in our local camellia club, grafted it, and finally it is blooming in my garden.

A British horticulturalist Jennifer Trehane in her camellia encyclopedia mentioned doubts whether this plant a true C. oleifera. I second this: the leaves, stems, bark (and of course petaloids) are different from other oleifera seedlings and hybrids I have in my garden. Some DNA analysis is needed to be sure.

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A miniature Camellia sasanqua ‘Jewel Box’ grafted on ‘Kanjiro’ tree

I mentioned this sasanqua in an article Camellias for Dwarfs and Elves that was published in American Camellia Yearbook 2011:

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‘Jewel Box’ is the smallest of sasanqua cultivars – its typical leaf is just 30×12 mm as comparing to a more regular leaves of sasanqua cultivar ‘Jean May’ that measures 62×28 mm or a typical Camellia japonica leaf of ‘Kamo Honnami’ that measures 90×60 mm. ‘Jewel Box’ originated in Nuccio’s Nurseries, California. It produces a lot of somewhat wavy single white flowers, sometimes with a pink tint on the border. It appears this cultivar was used to decorate Japanese garden in Huntington Library and Gardens in Sam Marino, California. This garden has the healthiest and best maintained ‘Jewel Box’ planted between rocks along the sidewalk.

‘Jewel Box’ does produce seeds and these seeds sprout, so the cultivar can be used for breeding. However the seedlings are very delicate and easily die when overwatered. The plant’s root system is not very strong, so it is important not to overwater, over-dry or over-fertilize the plant. When grown under sub-optimal condition, this plant frequently shows chrolosis (yellow blotches on leaves) or even have deformed undeveloped leaves. It is difficult to say whether it is a genetic feature, or a result or some virus infection that are frequent among camellia cultivars and result in blotched flowers in pink camellias.

‘Jewel Box’ grows slowly but can be grafted, although it is not the easiest plant to propagate by grafting. Some grafts initially take, but stop growing next year and do not grow beyond stunted stage with a lot of almost opened buds, but no real sprouts. Some other grafts not only take and grow, but develop several large leaves before going back to the size of leaves normal for ‘Jewel Box’. ‘Jewel Box’ may be an interesting subject for a researcher to try different plant hormones – synthetic auxins, gibberellin, etc.

Yuri Panchul. Camellias for Dwarfs and Elves. American Camellia Yearbook 2011