"Not a plant, not a flower, the Higo is an emotion"

The Camellia belongs to the Teaceae family and Linneus gave the common name "Camellia Japonica L." to this group, with reference to its homeland. As far as Japan is concerned, the most representative Camellia is called Higo, a mixture of culture and mystery surrounded by great charm. Luckily, this variety of Camellia was saved by an association of flower growers, called Hana Ren, and later it was able to survive any world war damages. Its name comes from ancient homeland, today called Kumamoto, where it was selected and cultivated in the age of the Samurais. The most important duty of the Samurai was the complete devotion to his master and respect for parents and ancestors. The example of this was the practise of planting the dead relative's favourite Camellia in the family cemetery: in this way fidelity and respect to both ancestors and Camellias was achieved. Around the second half of the X1X century, the political system in Japan changed and the Samurais were disarmed; consequently many of their traditions were lost and the Camellias were forgotten. The Hana Ren and the Higo Camellia Society later tried to hand down this incredible cultural heritage. The Camellia Higo does not resemble any natural species as it is a hybrid of selected varieties of Camellia Japonica and the little known Camellia Rusticana of the Honsu mountains, as well as other varieties. The Higo may be considered a style of flower more than a species; its greatest features are a profusion of stamens and a simple flat flower. It has 5 to 9 very large and iridescent petals and from 100 to 250 stamens in each flower .The stamens can be white, yellow, pink or reddish, in this way they stand out against the overall colour of the flower which is generally clear and brilliant and it may be white, pink, scarlet or cream, often with contrasting stripes. Because of its unknown origins, there is no reason to be surprised at its unusual characteristic change, for example many of them are scented. The Camellia growers of Kumamoto are also very skilfull in the growing of Bonsai. These are very small plants cultivated in vases which generally seem to be very old, and in fact some really are. They are achieved by inserting a young branch (any variety can be used) into an old trunk or a root, generally taken from rocks in the mountains. Under no circumstances can any description communicate the right spirit of the Higo that can only be reached through its sight and its possession. In any case, no written description is able to do justice to the spirit of this flower. It must be seen or, better yet possessed to be fully appreciated.

Higo Camellia | Il Giardino delle Higo | The Higo Garden | Higo: Le Antiche Camellie dei Samurai | Higo: The Ancient Camellias of The Samurais | Il Libro -- The Book

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