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The Camellia Collection

Discover a fiesta of colour in the middle of winter!

The Camellia genus is a large group of winter-flowering shrubs and trees that includes Camellia sinensis, the plant black tea comes from.

Camellias were one of the first plants in the Garden

Australia has long been an important centre for Camellia breeding and Camellias were first introduced to this botanic garden in 1823. Horticulturalist William Macarthur was responsible for the first Australian cultivar, Camellia japonica ‘Aspasia Macarthur,’ which was bred at Macarthur’s Camden Park estate in the nineteenth century.

After World War II, Sydney University academic EG Waterhouse and more recently, breeders such as Bob Cherry have created varieties drawing on later discovered species. Wonderful examples of plants bred during each of these eras can be found in our Camellia Garden between Plant Pathology and the Fernery surrounding Rathborne Lodge, as well as in historic plantings throughout our garden.

Visit the HSBC Oriental Garden to see rare and unusual Camellias

Our Camellia and Oriental gardens are also the places to see many rare and unusual species from sub-tropical and tropical forests of China, Vietnam and Laos. Many of these species such as Camellia amplexicaulis have large bright red new leaves and apple sized fruits, Camellia oleifera 'fruit is used for a highly prized, edible oil.

A highlight in August is the Yellow flowering Camellia (Camellia nitidissima) with its beautiful butter coloured flowers. Although traditionally associated with temperate gardens, recent research has shown that Camellias originated in sub-tropical and tropical forests where new species are still being discovered.

The terrace above our Herb Garden is a great place to check out the plant we depend on for our daily cuppa and in the Herb Garden you will find an abundance of plants to delight herbal tea lovers. View our digital map on your device to find your way around.