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Symbolism of Camellia Flowers

By Cassie Tweten
A pink camellia flower
camellia image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com

Flower symbolism originated with ancient religions, according to Living Arts Originals. Flowers were often linked to early deities and as civilization progressed, flower symbolism continued. The use of flowers to represent emotions became popular during Victorian times when men and women were expected to keep their emotions a private manner, the website explains. This tradition survived into modern times. Flower meaning is often considered when giving flowers as gifts, using them as decorations and choosing them for planting in a garden. The camellia flower, which represents love and devotion, is often given as a gift of affection and used to in wedding decorations and bouquets.


The camellia flower grows from an evergreen shrub that blossoms in autumn and winter in temperate climates, according to State History Guide. The flower, which may be white, pink or red, has large symmetrical petals, according to Living Arts Originals website.

Gender Representation

In China, the delicate petals of the camellia are said to represent the "spirit of a lady" and the calyx (the part of the flower where the petals attach) represents a young man, according to Living Arts Originals website. Because the calyx falls from the camellia plant with the petals when the flower expires, the camellia is said to represent the undying love between a man and a woman.

Perfection and Elegance

The flower's perfectly formed symmetrical petals make it a symbol of perfection, according to Whats-Your-Sign.com. The soft, round petals feature a gentle curve symbolizing refinement.


White camellias signify admiration, luck, perfection and loveliness. Pink camellias represent longing and devotion, and red camellias stand for passion and excellence, according to the Living Arts Originals website.


Camellia flower symbolism is important in the Verdi opera "La Traviata," based on the novel "La Dame aux Camellias" by Alexandre Dumas the younger, according to "The Independent," the British newspaper. In the story, a courtesan named Violetta gives her love interest, Alfredo, a camellia flower at the beginning of Act I. Violetta always wears a corsage of white camellia flowers, except for the few days a month she is unavailable for personal reasons. During her unavailability, she wears red camellias.