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New Hope for Breeding New Varieties with Camellia chuangtsoensis

You Mu-xian1  John Wang2  You Ming-fei1  Huang Lian-dong3
1 China Camellia Breeding Group, Jinhua, Zhejiang
2. San Francisco, USA
3 Nanning Yellow Camellia Park, Nanning, Guangxi

1 Discovery of Camellia chuangtsoensis


Camellia chuangtsoensis Camellia chuangtsoensis Camellia chuangtsoensis
Flower of Camellia chuangtsoensis Illustration of C. chuangtsoensis Petals of C. chuangtsoensis

Mr. Huang Liandong occasionally purchased one wild yellow camellia plant in a street market and this plant was flowering in summer next year. Mr. Huang was excited by its small leaves, numerous petals and color. He was told by local growers that this kind of plants was distributed in distant hills at Chongzuo City. He thus decided to investigate this species at a mountainous village called as Longliutun along with staff from Chongzu Forestry Design Academy, and collected some specimen plants. He then published this new yellow species titled as a new species of genus camellia of Sect. Chrysantha Chang in the proceedings of Annual China Breeding Group Symposium, with co-author of the famous taxonomist Prof Liang Shengye, after intensive comparisons and further research. It is a new yellow camellia species blooming around the year in Guangxi.

2 Comparisons with C. ptilosperma in morphological characteristics

There are two species blooming around the year, i.e. C.ptilosperma and C.chuangtsoensis, but they are totally different from each other in flower color, flower form, shape of petals, flower size, blossom period and shape of leaves between them.

Color of flower: light yellow for C.ptilosperma, with purple stripes or spots on petals, but deep yellow or yellow for C.chuangtsoensis with pure color and no spots.

Flower form: single form for C.ptilosperma, and single to semi-double form for the latter with two row petals

Number of Petals: 5~7 for the former, and 13~15 for the latter;

Flower size: usually diameter 3.5~4.5cm for the former, and 5~6 cm for the latter;

Blossom period: usually starting flowering from May, full blossom through July to August, occasionally flowering from December to next January in C.ptilosperma in Nanning; flowering from January and February, full blossom through March to June, continuously flowering through July to September with high temperature, declining blossom during October and December in C.chuangtsoensis. So its blossom period lasts for more than 300 days around a year and therefore yellow flowers are almost blooming all a year.

Leaves: 7~13.5cm long and 3~5 cm wide in C.ptilosperma, and smaller leaves in C.chuangtsoensis, 7~11cm long and 3~4cm wide.

Based on above descriptions in C.ptilosperma, this species is typical of golden flower, smaller leaves, dense shoots and compacted plants. All these unique characteristics will not only provide us with new opportunity to develop ornamental industry, but also new hope for breeding new yellow camellia cultivars.

C.ptilosperma C.chuongtsoensis

Flower of C.ptilosperma

Flower of C.chuongtsoensis

C.ptilosperma C.chuongtsoensis

Leaves of C.ptilosperma

Leaves of C.chuongtsoensis


3 Hybridization

So far no any breeding results on C.chuangtsoensis have been published in the world. In 2010, Mr. John Wang made a cross between C.chuangtsoensis and a white C.reticulata hybrid (No.1 hybrid) bred by himself. He harvested a fruit with two seeds. He raised three seedlings grafted with young shoots from the hybrid at different stages. The tallest is ca.160cm and shortest for 40cm. The tallest seedling (No.1) has similar leaves with C.reticulata, and has not started flowering yet.

Three hybrid saplings grafted at various stages
Three hybrid saplings grafted at various stages


Hybrid No.1
The mother parent, a whitish C. reticulata cultivar (Hybrid No.1 )

Youngest hybrid seedling at height of 40cm

Middle hybrid seedling
at height of 70cm

Tallest hybrid seedling
at height of 160cm


fruit seedling
Young hybrid fruit between C.changii x
C. chuangtsoensis
by Mr.Huang in Nanning

Young hybrid seedling crossed between
C. chuangtsoensis x C.changii by Mr.Huang in Nanning

Mr. Huang Liandong conducted hybridization between C.changii (C.azalea) and C.chuangtsoensis in past years. He made a cross between C.changii as father parent and C.chuangtsoensis as mother parent in July 2010.  He also tried to conduct reciprocal crosses as mother parent of C. changii and successfully harvested fruits. He raised the hybrid seedlings up to 10cm tall. 

I conducted reciprocal crosses between C.chuangtsoensis and C.changii on 23 August 2012, and have successful young fruits.    

C.changii x C.chuangtsoensis C.chuangtsoensis x C.changii

Young hybrid fruit crossed between
C.changii x C.chuangtsoensis

Young hybrid fruit crossed between
C.chuangtsoensis x C.changii


4 Conclusions

We have grafted C.chuangtsoensis to root stocks C. japonica ‘Hongluzheng’ with high compatibility. Three years ago I introduced some shoots and have raised more than 30 C.chuangtsoensis saplings in my nursery. This year I grafted another batch on large scale with survival rate of over 90%, and estimate to have up to one hundred C.chuangtsoensis seedlings in 2013.

The young grafted C.chuangtsoensis sapling has a shrubby and compacted plant form with flowers slightly downward , and some saplings have variegated leaves. Color of fresh leaves looks shinning purplish red when saplings are sprouting new shoots.

Pollens of C.chuangtsoensis are necessary to be stored in appropriate condition so as to obtain high seed bearing crosses with C.changii.

There are very short matured period for fruits which ripens in two months, but long germination period of up to four months.


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