Of the more than forty-five species of Camellia growing on the Armstrong campus, one of my favorites is Camellia crapnelliana.
This species forms a small tree with shiny, dark-green foliage and attractive powdery, rust to brick-red colored bark. Large, fragrant flowers with white petals are on display from early October through November.
Softball-sized brown fruit are formed during the summer and remain on the tree through early winter.
The heavy dark seeds inside the fruit share a common characteristic with many other Camellia species by possessing a high oil content used for everything from cooking oil to cosmetics.
Native to southeastern China, Camellia crapnelliana makes an outstanding small tree for semi-shaded areas and can be found on the Armstrong campus in the Camellia Garden in front of Jenkins Hall.