Camellias are a favorite of Southern gardens in the U.S. because of their dark green glossy leaves and beautiful flowers. The grow well in dappled shade and bloom in the fall, winter or early spring. The two main camellia classifications are the Camellia japonica, which has a thicker, fuller growth habit; and the Camellia sasanqua, which is more cold- and sun-tolerant, has smaller leaves, and puts out long limbs, giving it a rangier growth habit. There are six forms of camellia shrubs, each distinguished by the type of bloom it produces.
The single form produces a bloom with a single row of petals around the yellow stamen and pistils. The petals are thin and papery and the stamen and pistils are clearly visible.
The semi-double form of camellia produces a flower with more than one row of petals around the yellow pistils and stamen. The pistils and stamen are easily visible on the semi-double form.
The anemone form of camellia produces flowers with one or more rows of petals around the pistils and stamen. However, the pistils and stamen are not easily visible as they are obscured by a collection of smaller petals called petaloids that congregate in the middle of the flower.
Also known as an informal double, this form of camellia produces flowers that have overlapping rows of petals that resembles a carnation. The pistils are usually obscured by the petals and petaloids. However, the petaloids are more developed and more closely resemble the surrounding petals than in the anemone form of camellia.
The formal double form of camellia produces flowers that have many rows of overlapping petals that form a spiral effect if looking at it from above. In the formal double variety the pistils and stamen are not visible, as they are obscured by the overlapping petals.
The rose-form double form of camellia produces flowers that have more than one row of overlapping petals. However, the petals don't grow completely into the center of the fully opened flower as in the formal double type. There is a space and then a tightly formed group of full petals cover the center pistils and stamen. The flower of the rose form double resembles an open hybrid tea rose.