CAMELLIA JAPONICA - plant generic
  • CAMELLIA JAPONICA - plant generic

CAMELLIA CAMELLIA J. - the meaning


(taken from the book of Alfredo Cattabiani "Florario. Myths, legends, and symbols of flowers and plants", Editions of Oscar Mondadori. A book to read and consult ! )


In the western world the camellia (Camellia japonica) immediately evokes the memory of Marguerite Gautier, the heroine of the Lady from the camellias by Alexandre Dumas son, who could tolerate only this flower, because the others were coughing.

In his figure the writer wanted to evoke, Alphonsine Plessis, who had been his companion and lover.

Marguerite Gautier, wore a white camellia for twenty-five days to the month, and red in the other five: "It was an eccentricity," he commented mischievously Armand Duval, the lover of Marguerite, "that I honor without being able to explain".

The triumph of la Traviata, one of Giuseppe Verdi made even more popular this flower, which arrived in Europe only in the first half of the previous century: the British had asked for the tea plants to the Chinese, who, fearing the competition, sent him, instead of shrubs of camellia, which the chinese called T, and, a word similar in pronunciation to the one used in the West for the drink.

It was called botanically "camellia", with two "L" in honor of George Joseph Kamel, a jesuit missionary, who lived between 1661 and 1704.

The camellia befitted the heroine of Dumas's because the Japanese considered it a symbol of Life cut short because of the flower that is detached entire from the stem instead of dropping petal after petal as the others.

But the plant has motivated a symbolism opposite, that of Longevity, since it lives for a long time.

In China, as In Japan, his most precious varieties were reserved to the nobles.

In Italy, the first camellias were planted to 1760 in the park of the Villa Reale at Caserta, at the desire of queen Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine.

The flower became in a few years, beloved by the aristocracy and the high bourgeoisie of europe.

The Italians understood the deal and, in short, became the largest producers in the world.

In the vocabulary of love, the camellia has taken on a generic staining sinful as the one who brought in the famous novel.

But all its variety expressed a different feeling: that to the white flower double says: "my thought is for you"; the camelia flower white the ruin evokes a mother's love: regalatela, therefore, to your mother.

The camellia flower anemone red rebuke: "vote false"; the red flower's destruction speaks of: "Love and hope"; if it is pink in colour and exclaims: "I find You in the end", while the red blood complains: "More", and the sasanqua rosy promises: "I will keep you, not me sfuggirai"; the camellia varied symbolizes and finally, "Love, Faith, Hope".


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