Camellia japonica ‘Spofforthiae’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Very large double white flowers with a few pink stripes and occasionally one or two anthers.  ‘A vigorous shrub and of an elegant port; leaves oval, horizontal, nerves salient, of a deep green, teeth distant and very acute; buds very large, with greenish scales; flower three inches in diameter, full, of a milk-white with a few red stripes. – Superb.’  [Berlèse Monography p.89/1838].

Horticultural & Botanical History

It was bred by William Herbert at Spofforth before 1836 from ‘Alba Simplex’ crossed with ‘Pompone’.  ‘The finest double varieties of Camellia Japonica which I have raised are as follows: From the single white by the pollen of Pompone, 1. var. Spofforthiae, or Spofforth striped, very large and very double white, with a few pink stripes, and occasionally one or two anthers. 2. v. Maculosa, or Calypso, do.  3. v. Haylocki, or Haylock’s white; pure white, rarely a few anthers.  4. v. Eburnea, or Ebur; very vigorous, pure white; somewhat waratah shaped.  5. v. Nivosa, or Nitor; double white, variable in form.  6. v. Fortuita, or Fortuna; very like var. 1.  7. v. lactescens, or Luna; double white.’  [Herbert p.367].  The Floricultural Cabinet described ‘Spofforthiae’ as having variegated flowers.  [FC p.186/1835].  Listed in the 1836 Loddiges’ Nursery catalogue but not the 1830 edition.  Copies of both of these are held at Camden Park [CPA].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.260/1845].  ‘Spofforthiae’ was marked with an ‘H’, denoting ‘Herbert’, in William Macarthur’s hand in an 1850 catalogue held at Camden Park.  Macarthur sold plants to Bailey and sons of Adelaide in 1853.  Probably obtained from Loddiges’ Nursery, either in a case of plants brought back by Bidwill or in a direct importation in late 1844.  Concerning the latter Macarthur wrote on 6th January 1845 that he now had five camellias ‘which we had not before’, and of the former that he had saved 60% of the plants: ‘You will judge therefore how much I am in your debt’.  Macarthur specifically wrote to Loddiges’ on 6th January 1845: ‘I am very desirous to have the best of Mr. Herbert’s varieties.’  [MP A2933-2, p.28].


Published Jul 02, 2009 - 04:52 PM | Last updated Aug 10, 2011 - 03:23 PM

More details about Camellia japonica ‘Spofforthiae’
Family Theaceae
Region of origin

garden origin, England

  • ‘Spofforthiana’
  • ‘Spofforthiae Alba’


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Camellia japonica Spofforthiae 

Confidence level high