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Highlights

Camellia japonica, the city flower, can emit fragrance

2018-12-06 10:11:21

Zhou Li pollinating the camellia by hybridization method.

The new species of Sichuan camellia japonica called “Bayu Xiangyun”. (Photos provided by the interviewee)

CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- Camellia japonica is the city flower of Chongqing, and Sichuan camellia japonica of Chongqing has its own style in the camellia family. But it didn’t emit fragrance before compared with the gorgeous appearance.

Nanshan Botanical Garden said they have successfully cultivated a new species of Sichuan camellia japonica around the country which can emit the fragrance, so we can both smell and view the flower. It has been gained the certificate of new camellia variety issued by the China Camellia Naming and Unified Registration Committee, called “Bayu Xiangyu”.

There have been over 160 cultivated varieties of Sichuan camellia japonica we knew so far; among them, 150 can be seen in the Camellia Garden of Nanshan Botanical Garden. And we know that before the “Bayu Xiangyun” emerges, none of fragrant from Sichuan camellia japonica can be smelt although with beautiful appearance.

The reason why Sichuan camellia japonica has no fragrance is there are only a few scented camellia varieties in the camellia family itself said by Zhou Li, the scholar who has studied camellia for more than 20 years.

Zhou thinks hybridization is a good way to solve the problem. "Many fragrant camellias are bred via hybridization.” Zhou Li told that there are some cases of camellia hybridization in the world but less.

Whether seeds can be successfully cultivated is decided by the “luck”. 

However, the seed gained via hybridization is just the first step during the process, and you will take lots of time for it after sowing.

Zhou Li has sowed more than 100 seeds of different combinations since the cultivating work of new products of Sichuan camellia japonica in 2010. Over the years, Zhou and his colleagues have carefully cultivated each flower seedling.

It can be said that waiting is not an easy thing. And the flower fragrance attracted her suddenly when she nearly was disappointed after many failures. She found the seedling following the smell. At that time, more than 20 seeds, the same as this combination, were planted, of which 5 bloomed last year.

"Only this one among 5 plants emits fragrance, whose gene is from the male parent.” Zhou Li was overjoyed. The variety will change based on the different genes inherited even if it adopts the same material and method, so Zhou Li feels lucky to cultivate it.

“Bayu Xiangyun” is a charming flower with light pink tile-shaped petals and yellow-and-white stamens, which has about 3-month flowering period, whose fragrance is similar to rose, fresh and refreshing.

This year, it obtains the certificate of new camellia variety issued by the China Camellia Naming and Unified Registration Committee, called “Bayu Xiangyu”.

The period from November to April of each year is its blossom of Sichuan camellia japonica. Unfortunately, "Bayu Xiangyun" won’t bloom this winter.

"In order to make it produce more flowers, we have grafted it this year, and it won’t bloom until next year.” Zhou Li said that there is to be more flowering and fragrant "Bayu Xiangyun" in the Camellia Garden next winter. (Translated by Jiang Yuling, Fathom Language Limited)

Editor:Jiang Yiwei