Winter flower 9: Camellia

Species:C. japonica
Common names:Common camellia, Japanese camellia

Common camellia is widely cultivated but never really in large forests (except wild trees grown in hills in China), so its importance to bees should be marginal. Despite its Latin name, it originated in China, not Japan. The flowers have many cultivated varieties and are very pretty. I have seen both species of bees (A. mellifera, our bees, and A. cerana, Asian honey bees, in China) foraging on this plant. Although camellia blooms from Nov to May in cultivated varieties, the wild ones in China mostly blooms in Jan to March, so mainly during winter, although it can be considered spring time in Southern China around late February.

  1. I took these January 2006 in Baton Rouge, LA. A. mellifera foraging on common camellia.

2. This angle shows better than pollen she has gathered. I suspect bees mainly forage for pollen.

3. An Apis cerana foraging on camellia. The behavior here indicates she is trying to get some nectar. Feb 28, 2022, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

4. Probably the same bee ready to leave.

5. This photo was done by a cell phone (Samsung S7+). Again one can see she is trying to reach the nectar because if she is foraging for pollen she does not need to go so deep. March 1, 2022. Hangzhou China.

6. Another photo by my cell home, Samsung S22+ but I forgot to use the highest resolution. Dec 9th, 2023. Shaoshan, Hunan, China.

Other flowers in the genus Camellia:

Camellia sinensis, Camellia olfeifera

Author: Zachary Huang

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