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ICS Committee for Historic Camellia Conservation

ICS started years ago to focus on camellia conservation. An informal research group, namely the Historic Camellias and Conservation Working Group, was formed in 2010, during the Congress in Kurume, Japan, with the mission of the Group of recording, identifying, and conserving historic camellias.  The Group met various times as noted below:

  • 2012: Meeting at ICS Congress, Chuxiong (China)
  • 2013: Workshop in Pallanza (Italy)
  • 2014: Meeting at ICS Congress, Pontevedra (Galicia, Spain)
  • 2015: Workshop at Azores (Portugal)
  • 2016: Meeting at ICS Congress, Dali (China)
  • 2017: Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A., February 11-16
  • 2018: Inaugural meeting of the ICS Committee for Historic Camellia Conservation at the Nantes congress and appointment of Dr Stephen Utick su.env.envoy@gmail.com as chair


The ICS Committee for Historic Camellia Conservation, after its inaugural meeting at the Nantes congress, had its first convention on October 18-19th, 2019, in  Apoliu Camellia Tourism Valley, China, with 60 delegates representing China, Australia, United Kingdom, Benelux, Germany/Austria, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Vietnam (see https://drive.google.com/open?id=16aTqAaR8mPxuqBjD6hGJMivnZJLcoabg ). The Committee approved an International Statement that encourages the Conservation of Ancient and Historic Camellias around the world.  Also, it sets criteria for Specification of Ancient Indigenous Camellia Trees and Historic Ornamental Camellia Trees, Standard of Measurements and Records, and the institution of International Awards for Significant Ancient Indigenous Camellia Trees and Significant Historic Ornamental Trees. Such Declaration, named Apoliu Declaration after the place where it was discussed, was approved by the board of ICS Directors at the virtual meeting of ICS 2020 Congress. The summary text of the Declaration reads as follows:

“The International Camellia Society (ICS) commends to the global community, particularly those nations where plants of the genus Camellia are grown, including their national parks reserves and estates, botanical gardens, horticultural and agricultural societies, heritage and cultural associations, the conservation of ancient and historic trees of the family Theaceae, genus Camellia.

Such trees represent an irreplaceable botanical and genetic repository that has been nurtured through millennia of human civilisation, particularly in Asia and later including India and Sri Lanka, global economic horticultural usage including tea, edible oils, cosmetics, native woods, nursery stock and floriculture.

The ICS also urges the conservation of these trees, particularly in their homelands of China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Laos, Cambodia and other Asian nations, the aesthetic beauty of which has inspired garden design, the arts (including painting, poetry, literature and ceramics) and religious practice throughout two millennia.

Recognising that Camellia has since the seventeenth century become a global flower, the ICS further urges the conservation of ancient and historic Camellia trees (both indigenous and ornamental) throughout the world, including the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, and most European countries. Such trees are international living sentinels within garden and other landscapes, marking the passage of hundreds of years of human horticultural and garden history.

In summary, the ICS urges the world community to conserve these wonderful ancient and historic Camellia trees, priceless and irreplaceable symbols of economic, horticultural and cultural endeavours through millennia of human civilisations.”


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