Camellia, the camellias, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. They are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. There are 100–250 described species, with some controversy over the exact number. The genus was named by Linnaeus after the Jesuit botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, who worked in the Philippines, though he never described a camellia. This genus is famous throughout East Asia; camellias are known as cháhua in Chinese, "tea flower", an apt designation, as tsubaki in Japanese, as dongbaek-kkot in Korean and as hoa trŕ or hoa chč in Vietnamese.
The most famous member – though often not recognized as a camellia – is certainly the tea plant (C. sinensis). Among the ornamental species, Camellia japonica, Camellia oleifera and C. sasanqua are perhaps the most widely known, though most camellias grown for their flowers are cultivars or hybrids.
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