Eighteenth century to present
Source Country: China
Above left: A solitary Camellia reticulata bloom between two massive trunks in Jinguang Temple nature reserve on Baotai Mountain; above right: examples of small single reticulata flowers which the giants produce
Two giants: 13 metres high and 300 years old (above left) and 14 metres high and 250 years old (above right)
Baotai Mountain in Yongping County, Yunnan is truly the land of the giants in the world of camellias. The Jinguang Temple provincial nature reserve on the mountain has 1250 hectares of old wild Yunnan Camellia reticulata, with five thousand trees over a hundred years old and more than a thousand over 300 years old. These latter would have germinated as far back as the eighteenth century. While most in this protection zone have heights between 10 to 18 metres, some have been known to reach 24 metres in height. Such super-giants can be observed at close range on a walk between Jinping Room adjacent to the temple and a location called Washing Pool. Diameters of these trees can be with a range of 0.5-0.7 metres. In addition, certain wild camellia species on the reserve with white flowers are the source of oil and a special kind of Dali tea. Ancient Magnolia campbellii (Mu Lian flower) can also be growing found here.
Magnolia campbellii companion to Camellia reticulata on Baotai Mountain
Source: Notes taken by Stephen Utick ICS Congress Dali 2016. See also pamphlet 2016 China (Dali) International Camellia Congress, Yongping Parallel Session. Photography Stephen Utick.