Amaryllidaceae (1837) pp. 367-370
William Herbert
Camellias

I have had greater success than any other person in raising from seed double camellias of various tints and appearance, and some of the best have been produced either from single flowers or plants raised from single ones, impregnated by the pollen of double flowers, preferring, where it can be got, the pollen that is borne on a petal. The new seedlings that flowered with me in one spring for the first time were nine full double; three semidouble, of which one was very fine, and only three single; but such an unusual result is not to be obtained without particular attention to the mode of treating the mother plant while in flower and seeding the method which I have adopted being to keep it in confined air, with a superabundance of water, even to the detriment of its health, and to prevent it from making young shoots, in a great measure, if not entirely, by which means an exuberant degree of nutriment is forced to the seed-vessel. The reason that the seedlings raised by some nurserymen are so very inferior is, that their plants are in the most luxuriant growth; and it cannot be expected that seed gathered from individuals growing with freedom and vigour, should not be more disposed to reproduce the natural form of the plant, than to yield the fine cultivated varieties, which are to be obtained from them when almost diseased by repletion. The finest double varieties of Camellia Japonica which I have so raised are as follows

From the single white by the pollen of the Pompone, 1. var. Spofforthiae, or Spofforth striped, very large and very double, white, with a few pink stripes, and occasionally one or two anthers.—2. v. Maculosa, or Calypso, do.—3. v. Haylocki, or Haylock's white; pure white, rarely a few anthers.—4. v. Eburnea, or Ebur; very vigorous, pure white; somewhat waratah shaped.—5. v. Nivosa, or Nitor; double white, variable in form.—6. v. Fortuita, or Fortuna; very like var. 1.—7. v. Lactescens, or Luna; double white. From seedlings impregnated by the Pompone, which had been raised from the common single red by the striped.—8. v. Pumila, or Circe; regularly formed double white dwarf myrtle-leaved.—9. v. Ulantha, or Hylas; white striped with pink; flowers in four uniform compartments.—10. v. Lysantha, or Lysimachus; flowers if possible more regular than the buff or old double white, red with a watery white line and margin to each petal. A very erect plant of rapid growth with flowers of first-rate merit.—11. v. Victrix, or Victoria; own sister to Lysimachus, equally regular, of the colour of a full-blown cabbage rose, paler near the edges. From the Chinese semidouble by Pompone.—12. v. Picta, or Alcmene; very regular in general; with a pink stripe usually on each petal, the white changing after some days to blush, sometimes less regular, with one or two anthers; very beautiful. From the Pompone.—13. v. Spofforthiana roses, or Iduna; superior to the Peony-flowered in form and colour; the flower has always some anthers like its parent. From the waratah by the striped.—14. v. Foliolosa, or Amalthea; flower-shaped like the rose-scented peonia edulis, v. roses, red, with about 350 petals.—15. v. Conferta, or Odin; fine double red, not regular. I have never seen any anthers in either this or the preceding.—16. v. Porrecta, or Bellona; fine crimson; branches horizontal or weeping. From waratah by Pompone.—17. v. Modesta, or Hebe; flower nearly regular, of a delicate purplish pink. From waratah by 13. Iduna.—18. v. Rosigena, or Penelope; double red. From a seedling from single red by striped, fecundated again by striped.—19. v. Molesta, or Nemesis; very double red, but a delicate plant.—20. v. Venosa, or Venus; flower regular, but not sufficiently full, red veined with white. This has produced but one flower yet, and I am not sure of its permanent superiority. Many others of much merit I have not thought worthy of being named; and amongst them is one fulldouble red, raised immediately from the common smallflowered single red. I have a great multitude of seedlings which have not flowered yet, from which I anticipate much beauty and variety. I scarcely entertain a doubt that the double pink Camellia Sesanqua (Maliformis of Lindley) is a cross-bred plant between C. Japonica and Sesanqua; and, from its seeming sterility, I cannot but suspect that C. reticulata is not a genuine species, but a cross, perhaps obtained from some species still unknown to us.

Mr. Chandler obtained some very fine varieties from the waratah, impregnated by the striped, one season, but those which he has raised since have not proved good. It is, therefore, probable that there was some difference in the treatment of the plant or plants which bore seed for him that season, though accidental and unnoticed by him. His finest productions are eximia, somewhat like imbricata, Bironi, one-while called concinna, a very remarkable flower, regular and oddly flattened, but very beautiful; Woodsi, a large rose-coloured flower, quite double, but cup-shaped and hollow in the centre, requiring a little warmth to flower it in perfection; Chandleri, striped, sometimes very fine, but not always equally so. His elegans, rosa sinensis, and florida, are handsome also; corallína and althaeiflora sometimes, but often producing poor semi-double flowers. His anemoneflora alba comes very near in flower to its parent the Pompone, with a much less hardy constitution. Mr. Gray produced three cross-bred seedlings, of which Press's eclipse is the best, and Colvill's nursery two speckled seedlings of considerable merit, though very irregular, and too muddy in the colour. I have seen no other seedling Camellia that deserves to be preserved, but I have been told that Mr. Gray has since raised a good red one. His former plants were said to have been crosses between the single white and Chinese semi-double. These observations may perhaps tend to the raising still finer varieties, when the mode of obtaining them is rightly understood. I have no difficulty in obtaining seed from any given flower of the Pompone or Middlemist's Camellia, by putting it in a house rather warmer, and with less admission of air, than suits greenhouse plants in general; impregnating the stigma, and taking off the corolla before it begins to decay, and cutting away the petals that adhere to the germen or young seed-vessel, that the air may have free admission to it; without which precaution it will perish in most cases from damp. The striped sorts have usually more white in their flowers when they flower early in the spring, and it seems that the seed ripened earliest in the year is the most apt to yield white or pied seedlings. There is a strange mutability in the flowering of Camellias, of which the Pompone, which has been called on that account variabilis, furnishes a striking instance. It has four distinguishable kinds of flower, the pure white and the red-eyed, which appear promiscuously, the brindled pink, and the rose-coloured, which may be kept separate with tolerable certainty by grafting from the branch that bears them, the rose-coloured form being the Peony-flowered of the nurserymen. There is a branch on my oldest plant of the peony-flowered, which has reverted to the pure white colour, an occurrence less common than the departure from it. Carnations, which have run to red, very seldom revert to the white-stripe. I have been informed that the Chinese do not reckon seedling Camellias confirmed in their habit, till they have flowered six or seven seasons without becoming less double. I have not found any of mine, thus raised several years ago, degenerate from their first appearance. Of the Chinese, the double white, the buff, the fringed white, and, as far as we know, the red variety, called imbricata, are the only sorts that never bear anthers. Having cultivated the myrtle-leaved above twenty-five years, I never saw that variety bear an anther in my collection, except one season, when all the flowers on every plant of the kind had them, and they were found in two or three late flowers last year; but the seedlings reared from its pollen, of which great expectations were entertained, proved to be the worst I had ever raised, and it seemed that whatever peculiarity of the season inclined the flowers to deviate from their usual double form, and approach nearer to the fertile single-flowered original, disposed also the pollen to generate single seedlings. I have seen the myrtle-leaved with anthers at Mr. Knight's nursery, though the circumstance has been so rare in my own collection; perhaps it may be connected with the more or less luxuriant growth of the plant.

Camellias Biblio