Asia is the home of Camellia species, which grow as north as Korea and as south as Vietnam. The highest concentration of wild species, over 250, is in Southwest China and Vietnam. The majority of species are in Greater China, and range from the superlarge bloom of C. granthamiana to the small blooms of yellow and white flowering species. Vietnam, in turn, has over 60 wild Camellia species, yellow, red, and white flowered. Finally, Japan hosts the most famous species, namely C. japonica, from which many thousand of cultivars stem, and the winter flowering C. sasanqua. Conservation policies have started to preserve camellia species.
The cultivation of ornamental camellias started in Asia several centuries ago, mainly with varieties of C. japonica, C. reticulata, and C. sasanqua. On the other side, C. sinensis,the tree of tea, had and has a key role in food industry.
In the last 50 years, many new species have been discovered in China and Vietnam, as a wide range of yellow camellias and the ever-blooming C. changii (called also C. azalea) in South West China. Asian regions organize numerous conferences and workshops and offer many Gardens of Excellence, which show species and varieties.
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