Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Camellia japonica ‘Hikarugenji’

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah - July

Common name Japanese camellia, rose of winter
Scientific name

Camellia japonica ‘Hikarugenji’

Camellia japonica L.

Family  Theaceae

Genus: Camellia - after the Jesuit priest and botanist, George Kamel.

Species: japonica - refers to Japan, from where the first description of this species, by a westerner, was sent to Europe.

‘Hikarugenji’ or ‘Brilliant Genji’ refers to the romantic hero of an early Japanese novel.

Distribution The species from which this cultivar is derived is found in the wild in mainland China, Taiwan, southern Korea and southern Japan.
Native habitat Forests at altitudes of around 300 - 1100 metres, are home to Camellia japonica.
Description Our featured cultivar forms a shrub to about three metres. It is slow-growing and has glossy green leaves.
Flowering/fruiting Flowers in winter.


Between the Residence Garden and the Brunet Oak Lawn in bed R147.


There are about 120 species of Camellia of which Camellia japonica is the one most represented in the garden industry. There are more than 30,000 cultivars of this species.

Cultivar ‘Hikarugenji’ originated in the Kanto area, Japan and was known as early as 1859. The name means ‘Brilliant Genji’ from the famous ‘Tales of Genji’ about an early Japanese prince renowned for his elegance.

Other, sometimes contentious, names for this same cultivar are:

  • ‘Souvenir d’Henri Guichard’ France
  • ‘Herme’ Germany
  • ‘Jordan’s Pride’ United States of America

Camellias prefer a little shade, shelter from strong winds and harsh sun, a fertile, acidic, well-drained soil and a good water supply.

Available from specialist camellia growers and through cool-climate plant nurseries.