Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Camellia japonica ‘Spectabilis’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. ‘Leaves large, often of the colour and form of those of the single red camellia, or those of Variegata plena; buds with greenish scales; flower three inches in diameter, double, rose color, No.4; exterior petals regularly arranged in three rows, broad, sometimes spotted with white; those of the centre swollen, folded upon the ovary, twisted, mixed with some stamens and often striped with white. – Very handsome.’  [Berlèse Monography p.54/1838].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

A cross between ‘Celsiana’ and ‘Luteliana’ it was probably bred in Paris.  [ICR].  Berlèse gives its origin as Paris in 1830.  [Berlèse Monography p.97/1838].  Berlèse also describes and figures three camellias with the name ‘Spectabilis’ in his Iconographie: ‘Spectabilis grandiflora (pl.182); ‘Spectabilis maculata Loddigesii’ (pl.210); and ‘Spectabilis de Loddiges’ or ‘Loddigesii’.  [Berlèse Iconographie vol.III pl.210/1843].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.262/1843].

It seems likely that Macarthur grew either ‘Spectabilis maculata Loddigesii’ or ‘Spectabilis de Loddiges’, obtained directly from Loddiges’ Nursery.  This is supported by the fact that Camellia japonica spectabilis is marked with a ‘c’, denoting grown at Camden, in a copy of the 1836 Loddiges’ Nursery catalogue held at Camden Park [CPA].  Spectabilis is not listed in the 1830 edition.  ‘Spectabilis de Loddiges’ is figured here.  It conforms well to the description of ‘Spectabilis’ except for the lack of white streaking and spotting, although this is not a constant feature.  


Published Jul 03, 2009 - 03:09 PM | Last updated Aug 10, 2011 - 03:19 PM

Figured is a very double deep pink camellia, the central petals bunched.  Berlèse Iconographie vol.III pl.210, 1843.

Camellia japonica ‘Spectabilis’ | Berlèse Iconographie vol.III pl.210/1843 as 'Spectabilis de Loddiges' | HAAB


Family Theaceae
Region of origin


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Camellia japonica spectabilis 


Confidence level high