Although too tender to be flowered outdoors in Britain, this remarkable camellia deserves mention. A single tree was noted by the forester C. P. Lau in October 1955, growing on Shing Mung near Kowloon in Hong Kong New Territories, at about 2,000 ft. Specimens collected on that occasion and a few months later were sent to Kew, where they were recognised by J. R. Sealy as a new species (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 81, pp. 181-3 (1956)).
The original tree, which had been coppiced, was about 10 ft high. Leaves shortly stalked, oblong-elliptic, to about 4 in. long and 1[5/8] in. wide, glossy and with the veins deeply impressed above. Flowers solitary, white, about 6 in. wide (sometimes wider in cultivation), borne at the ends of short shoots and subtended at the base by a many-scaled persistent involucre. Stamens numerous, united at the base, with golden anthers. They open in autumn and early winter. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 597.
The type-tree was for a long time thought to be unique, but some thirty wild plants are now known (Int. Camell. Journ., no. 16, pp. 38-9 (1984)).
Now widely grown in favourable climates, C. granthamiana has needless to say been crossed with other species, including C. japonica, but none so far raised is of much merit.