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Camellia Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

In the garden of life, amidst the fragrant blossoms that grace our earthly path, the Camellia stands as a sentinel of profound emotions, a treasure trove of secrets held within its velvet petals.

This exquisite flower, with its lush, radiant blooms, is a testament to nature's artistry and the silent language of love.

As I gaze upon Camellia's tender countenance, I am drawn into a world where meanings intertwine with beauty, where emotions are spun into a delicate tapestry of symbolism.

With every Camellia that graces my presence, I embark on a voyage to fathom the intricate tales it tells – stories of love, devotion, and the timeless dance of the heart.

It is in the embrace of these enchanting blooms that I discover the enchanting Camellia flower meaning, a poetry of the soul, a symphony of sentiments that stir the very core of my being.


Key Takeaways

  • Cultural Richness: Originating in China but extending its roots to Asia, Australia, Japan, and Indonesia, the Camellia is a cultural icon. Its symbolism spans from expressions of love to associations with death, happiness, and perfection.
  • Colorful Meanings: The Camellia's colors carry nuanced meanings. Red signifies passionate love, white embodies purity, and pink evokes longing and admiration. The Victorian era saw pink Camellias as tokens of love and longing.
  • Symbolic Symmetry: The Camellia's near-perfect symmetry, with 5 to 9 petals, symbolizes excellence and perfection. Its captivating appearance makes it a fitting gift for celebrating success in careers or personal life.
  • Cultural Significance: In China, the Camellia symbolizes the union of romantic partners, while Korea associates it with longevity, faithfulness, and happiness. Alabama designated it the official state flower, and in Victorian England, it became a messenger of love.
  • Tattoo Symbolism: A Camellia flower tattoo carries diverse meanings. It symbolizes perfectionism, making it ideal for those who strive for excellence. It also represents love, making it a powerful and meaningful choice for commemorations or self-expression.
  • Gifts for Special Occasions: Camellias, especially red and pink ones, make unique and heartfelt gifts for occasions like Valentine's Day, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and expressions of sympathy and support.
  • Cultural Threads: In China, the Camellia represents the enduring bond between romantic partners. In Alabama, it's the official state flower, and in Victorian England, it played a role in expressing love and luck.

What Does The Camellia Flower Mean?

Although the camellia flower is native to China, they also grow in Asia, Australia, Japan, and Indonesia. These flowers are usually associated with love, devotion, adoration, care, longing, and passion.

They can also be used to represent happiness, perfection, and even death. However, like most flowers, the meaning of the Camellia flower can vary depending on the color of its bloom.

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Etymological Meaning Of The Flower

Words carry weight and meaning. Although seemingly insignificant, even the name of a flower can reveal some profound meanings that shape its symbolism and cultural interpretations.

So let’s take a closer look at the Camellia flower by examining its etymological meaning.

The camellia (noun) describes a genus of small trees and shrubs that grow mainly in Indonesia and Eastern Asia. The camellia was named around 1753 by Georg Joseph Kamel, the botanist, to first describe the flower.

When Carl Linnaeus developed the modern form of botanical taxonomy, he named the genus after himself.

The Profound Symbolism of Camellia Flowers

Symbolism Description and Associated Cultures
Love Symbol of love, devotion, and fidelity
Death Associated with funerals and commemorating lives (Japan)
Happiness Symbol of happiness (Korea)
Perfection Symbol of excellence and perfection

Now we’ve learned more about the camellia flower, we can finally ask the question - what does the it symbolize? Let’s take a closer look at the symbolism of this flower below.

  • Love: In the East, camellias symbolize love and are often considered representations of eternal love. They are given as gifts to express devotion and fidelity.
  • Death: In Japan, white camellia flowers are associated with funerals and death, and they are often laid on the graves of deceased family members as a way to commemorate their lives and pay respects.
  • Happiness: Camellias are a symbol of happiness, particularly in Korea. They have been part of Korean weddings since 1200 BC due to their associations with longevity, faithfulness, and happiness.
  • Perfection: Camellia flowers are known for their near-perfect symmetry, and they symbolize excellence and perfection. They can be given as gifts to celebrate success in a career or personal life.

Deciphering the Symbolic Meanings of Camellia Flower Colors

Color Symbolism
Red Love
White Purity
Pink Longing and admiration

Camellia Flower Color Meanings

Color symbolism is so powerful that it can be seen in art, anthropology, and even marketing. Colors can influence our behaviors, perceptions, and interpretation of objects, events, and people.

The camellia flower can come in many multi-colored blooms, but the most common colors are red, white, and pink.

Let’s explore the symbolism behind the camellia’s colors below and examine how these can shape our interpretation of the flower.

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  • Pink: Pink camellias are associated with kindness, compassion, femininity, love, and romance. In the Victorian era, pink camellias were gifted to symbolize love and longing.
  • Red: Red camellias represent desire and passionate love. Traditionally, red is symbolic of passionate love, making it a great gift for a romantic partner.
  • White: White camellias symbolize purity and innocence. They are often used in weddings and baptisms to represent the purity of the bride or the baby and symbolize a faithful, committed marriage. In Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," white camellias are used to symbolize patience and understanding in the face of prejudice and racism.

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Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Camellia Flower

Characteristics Description
Petal Symmetry Perfectly symmetrical petals
Longevity Can live up to 100-200 years
Related to Tea Closely related to tea plants
Native Regions Native to Japan and China

The camellia, or camellia sasanqua or camellia japonica flower, are easy-to-grow evergreens that are glossy and ideal for growing in containers.

It is ericaceous, meaning it requires acidic soil, and it does best in partial shade and full sun once it has established roots.

The camellia is a genus of almost 300 species and an estimated 3,000 hybrids. The Camellia sasanqua flowers bloom in the winter, and the camellia japonica blooms in early spring when it’s still cold.

Camellia flowers are also members of the Ericales order, meaning they’re closely related to both tea plants and azaleas.

The camellia flowers are native to both Japan and China, and in the mid-1700s, the flowers made their way to Europe before reaching North America before the end of the century.

Although camellias are mostly red, pink, and white, there is a species of yellow camellia. Such species people can find in South China and Vietnam.

Camellia flowers can vary in size, ranging from 1cm to 13cm. These bushes bloom in spring, autumn, and winter, and with the right care, some can live up to 100 to 200 years.

People well-loved these flowers for centuries, and reportedly, they were a common addition in the secret gardens of famous Chinese Emperors.

The flowers of the camellia are perfectly symmetrical. They’re also relatively large and can range anywhere from between 1 to 12 centimeters in diameter.

Most camellias have around 5 to 9 petals, and their fruit is a dry capsule divided into separate compartments. Each compartment contains between 1 to 8 seeds.

Elevating Special Moments with the Camellia Flower

Are you fed up with gifting roses, orchids, tulips, and carnations? Are you looking for a more unique flower to express your feelings? Why not consider the camellia flower?


The camellia can be the perfect gift for a range of occasions. We’ll explore some of the most common ones below.

  • Valentine's Day and Wedding Anniversaries: Red and pink camellias are ideal for expressing love and adoration on Valentine's Day or to celebrate wedding anniversaries. They provide a unique and heartfelt alternative to traditional roses in bouquets or floral arrangements.
  • Birthdays: Camellia flowers can be given as birthday gifts, especially for close friends and family members. Pink camellias, with their associations of platonic love and kindness, make an excellent choice.
  • Thinking of You: When someone you care about is grieving or recovering from an illness, camellia flowers can convey your support and well wishes. While white flowers are often associated with innocence and purity, they can also be a symbol of grief and loss, making them a thoughtful choice in such situations.

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The Rich Tapestry of Meaning Behind Camellia Flowers

The camellia flower has many symbolic meanings and interpretations. Unsurprisingly, these have also influenced the cultural significance of the flower. So let’s take a look at the cultural significance of the camellia flower below.


In Chinese culture, the camellia symbolizes the union between two heterosexual romantic partners. The flower's petals represent the woman, while the leafy green stem that holds the petals together represents the man. The inseparable parts of the camellia flower symbolize the strength of this union, even after death.


The camellia flower is the official state flower of Alabama. In 1959, the state governor signed a bill to designate the camellia as the state flower. Before that, from 1927 to 1959, the state flower was the Goldenrod.

Victorian Era

During the Victorian era in England, the camellia flower gained popularity and was used to send messages to love interests. It was also considered a symbol of good luck and was given to those about to embark on a long journey.

Fascinating Insights into Camellia Flowers

Keen to learn more about the camellia flower? It’s time to take a look at some of the most fascinating facts about this beautiful, intricate bloom.

  • The oldest living camellia was planted in 1347. It can be found in the Panlong Monastery in China.
  • Camellias blooms can be single, double, or semi-double.
  • The camellia flower propagates via cuttings and seeds.
  • Camellias can even grow in the form of small trees and shrubs, some of which can reach as tall as 66 feet.
  • In the wild, the Camellia can live between 100 to 200 years.
  • Camellias usually don’t have a scent, but some types are said to have a hint of anise, jasmine, and lemon.
  • The petals of the camellia flower are perfectly symmetrical.
  • The leaves of the Camellia sinensis are used in Chinese medicine to cure several ailments.
  • The camellia flower is also known as the ‘rose of winter’, and it’s a common feature in Japanese gardens.

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Unlocking the Versatile Potential of Camellia Flowers

Use Description and Significance
Medicinal Purposes Hemostatic, antihaemorrhagic, and astringent qualities; used for asthma, bacterial infections, and heart problems
Arts and Literature Symbolic use in art and literature, e.g., "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Culinary Purposes Oil for cooking and seasoning, sharpening tools
Fashion Iconic symbol in the fashion industry

The camellia is an intricate and symmetrical flower. It has a vibrant history. Many cultures well-loved it. Surprisingly, the camellia flower also has a range of practical uses. Below are some common ones.

  • Medicinal Purposes: Camellia flowers have medicinal properties and are used in herbal remedies. They are known for their hemostatic, antihaemorrhagic, and astringent qualities. Additionally, camellia flowers have demonstrated anticancer activity and are used to treat conditions such as asthma, bacterial infections, and heart problems.
  • Arts And Literature: Camellias have made appearances in art and literature. The white camellia, as seen in Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," symbolizes understanding and patience.
  • Culinary Purposes: In China, camellia seeds are pressed to create oil used for cooking and seasoning various dishes. Camellia oil is also used for sharpening, cleaning, and protecting cutting tools like knives.
  • Fashion: The camellia has become an iconic symbol in the fashion industry. Coco Chanel famously incorporated the camellia into various Chanel products, including jewelry and shoes, making it a symbol of elegance and style.

What Is The Symbolism Of A Camellia Flower Tattoo?

Whether you want to get inked with something meaningful, or you want a design that you find visually appealing, tattoos are a beautiful and impactful way of expressing our identities.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo, but do not know what to have, why not consider a camellia flower tattoo? Let’s explore the meanings behind a camellia flower tattoo below.


Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? If you’re unable to perform a task without going all in, you’ll know that this can be both a blessing and a curse.

If you want a tattoo representing this part of your personality, the camellia flower is a great choice. It's one of the only flowers in the world to be perfectly symmetrical. Put simply, it is the definition of natural perfection!


One of the biggest motivators for getting a tattoo is love. This could be romantic, familial, or platonic. In several cultures, the camellia flower is symbolic of love.

For example, your camellia tattoo could be commemorative or matching with another person, and it could even be indicative of your own self-love.

The camellia may not be the most color-diverse flower in the world, but there are several options to choose from. Because of its distinctive petals, you can tattoo the camelia in black or grey if you don’t want a color design.

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Final Thoughts

People admired and adored the camellia for centuries. Its symbolic meanings and cultural significance have only given us more reason to love this incredible flower.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, or you simply want to learn more about the camellia, we hope we’ve shown you that this flower can do something for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the camellia symbolize in different cultures?

In China, the camellia represents the union between heterosexual romantic partners.

In Korea, it symbolizes longevity, faithfulness, and happiness.

In Japan, a white camellia is associated with funerals and death.

What do the different colors of camellia flowers symbolize?

Pink camellias symbolize kindness, compassion, femininity, love, and romance.

Red camellias represent desire and passionate love.

White camellias symbolize purity and innocence.

Are camellias commonly used for special occasions?

Yes, camellias are often given on Valentine's Day and wedding anniversaries, especially red and pink ones.

They can also be gifted on birthdays, as a thoughtful way to express platonic love and kindness.

What is the significance of camellia flowers in the state of Alabama?

Camellias are the official state flower of Alabama, chosen for their beauty and cultural importance.

How are camellias used in traditional Chinese medicine?

Camellia tea made from dried camellia leaves has been used for its medicinal properties, including treating asthma, bacterial infections, and heart problems.

What is the symbolism of camellias in fashion?

Camellias have become an iconic symbol in the fashion industry, especially associated with Coco Chanel, who incorporated them into various fashion products, such as jewelry and shoes.

How are camellias used in culinary applications?

Camellia seeds are pressed to create oil used for cooking and seasoning dishes, as well as for maintaining cutting tools like knives.

What does the camellia symbolize in the context of love and devotion?

Camellias symbolize eternal love, making them a popular gift to express devotion and fidelity.

Why are white camellias associated with patience and understanding?

In Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," white camellias are a symbol of patience and understanding, as they are used to represent the struggle against prejudice and racism in the story.

Are there any negative associations with camellias?

In Japan, white camellias are considered bad luck due to their associations with funerals and death, and they are often laid on the graves of deceased family members to commemorate their lives and pay respects.

Camellia Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More