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Introduction to the Field Genebank for Camellia sasanqua in Anji Zhejiang

LIN Tian1  LI Tian-fei1  Wei Chun-long1  LI Shou-guo2 GE Guo-jun1  LUO Li-jun1
1 Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center, Shanghai 201106
2 Shanghai Station for DUS Testing Center of New Plant Varieties, Shanghai 201106

Collection of germplasm 

SAGC started to collect sasanqua cultivars since 2002.We introduced 40 cultivars (8,000 plantlets) from Hangzhou Flower Nursery at the end of 2002. In March, 2003, we had introduced 60 cultivars (cuttings, plantlets and large plants) from Jinhua of Zhejiang China and New Zealand during the 18th International Camellia Society Congress in Jinhua, Zhejiang.  In 2005, Mr. John Wang from USA provided us with 27 cultivars and some hybrid seeds.  In 2006, we successfully raised 450 seedlings.

Field genebank establishment

By the end of 2004, we established a field genebank for Camellia sasanqua in Anji, Zhejiang. As a main part of Anji Water and Soil Conservation Demonstration District, it was built along hilly area, with terraced and spray-irrigation facilities. Divided to stock area, cultivars exhibition area and nursery, the field genebank conserved 97 Camellia species/cultivars, including about 80 sasanqua cultivars. About 12,000 camellias at more than 10 years old (some plants at age from 20 to 25 years old) were planted in the area.

Adaptability Evaluation

We also did research work on cold and hot resistance evaluation, soil adaptability evaluation of sasanqua and camellias in Anji and Shanghai. On the basis of field investigation and laboratory experiment, 4 cultivars were screened out, which adapt to Shanghai area:

(1)‘Yang Feicha’( uraku):

Flowers deep pink, single; plants upright and spreading, growth vigorous, plant height can get 5 meters,F1.Nov to next Mar. Strong adaptability to both cold and hot weather, good eurytropy to soil, high tolerance to toxic gas. The blooms can endure very low temperature (-8℃~-9℃) for a short period.


Flowers deep pink, semi-double; very floriferous. Leaves slightly recurved at margins. Plants spreading, growth vigorous, strong adaptability to both cold and hot weather. F1. mid. Dec. to next early Apr. This cultivar has very strong adaptability to Shanghai area.


Flowers rose-red, semi-double; petals round and thick, deep cerise with shaded paler at center of the petals. Stamens concentrate in the center of flowers, very floriferous,f ragrant. Plants bushy and upright, growth vigorous, strong adaptability to both cold and hot weather.  F1. Nov to next Mar. This cultivar is fitful to be planted as a hedge.


Flowers white, shading to pale pink at margins, semi-double to peony form; fragrant; very floriferous. Blade bistinctly folded in middle, lateral veins obvious. Plants spreading, growth vigorous, strong adaptability to both cold and hot weather. F1. early Oct. to next early Jan.

Breeding and Enhancement

In the winter of 2003, some elite germplasm had been used in breeding programs. We screened out a cultivar from seedlings which grew very vigorously: 290 cm high and 4.2 cm diameter at base of the trunk at age of 6 years, distinctly grow faster than other plantlets at the same age.  It was named as ‘Feitianyu ’ by Prof. Xu Biyu. Its flowers rich pink, tinged pansy in full bloom, single, ca.8 cm in diameter; petals roundish, apices slightly depressed, dished with occasional crimple, 6-7; very floriferous. Leaves larger, dark green, occasionally with yellow stripes. Plants upright and spreading, strong adaptability to both cold and hot weather. F1. Oct. to Dec. In 2011, ‘Feitianyu ’ was registered in International Camellia Society。

Popularization and utilization

As a main part of Anji Water and Soil Sonservation Demonstration District, the genebank also plays a key role in sasanqua’s popularization and utilization. Besides local exhibition and urban landscaping, we also provided plants and cuttings to companies of Shanghai and Zhejiang province. For purpose of exchange and technical communication with local camellia researchers and breeders,  we established a database of camellia sasanqua grew in Anji  on the website of Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center(SAGC) ( by which visitors achieve brief information clearly and conveniently.

Conservation research

Besides the field genebank conservation, we also worked on cryobank of Camellia sasanqua because its recalcitrant seeds are difficult to store for long time. Cryopreservation is a long-term storage by maintaining the germplasm at extreme low temperature in liquid nitrogen (-196℃).  It is a valuable methodology for the cost-effective, long-term conservation of vegetatively propagated and recalcitrant seed plants. SAGC has set up a genebank including two conservation systems, low temperature and low humidity, and liquid nitrogen. We had stored 97 cultivars DNA and 30 cultivars pollen in liquid nitrogen. Research on shoot-tips and embryos cryopreservation is in progress.

Sasanqua Germplasm in Anji Zhejiang China

















Sasanqua Germplasm in Anji Zhejiang China


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