Sunday, January 28, 2018

January’s Rare Flower

Santa Cruz Mountains

Camellia bud opening, with two closed buds

No matter how cold the nights, the camellia will bloom come January. In damp woods or beside seaside homes, this winter wonder brightens winter days throughout Santa Cruz county.

Young camellia blossom semi-open

Appearing delicate, waxy camellia petals hang on through wind and rain, through freezes and heat waves. The tree is compact and dense, the foliage evergreen. It’s built to endure.

Multiple Camellia Blossoms on Tree

As January marches on, the number of blossoms multiplies, until the entire tree is a mass of pink and green. Only after several weeks do the blossoms fade and drop.

Full-blown camellia blossom

The beautiful camellia is not just a feast for human eyes. It also feeds squirrels, who carefully spin the flowers in their paws, munching just the base of each petal. Luckily, there is plenty for all.

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