Camellia Day in Alabama

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Each year, Alabama gardeners and flower enthusiasts celebrate the state flower.

Some boast flaming streaks of pink and red (Herme) while others range from a slight pink to saturated with color to no color at all. The camellia is a sight to behold.

In 1959, the camellia replaced the native goldenrod (the unofficial state flower) as the state flower who was deemed unworthy of the title as it was thought to be a allergy inducing weed.

Camellias. Also called “the rose of winter,” is not native to our country. The flower comes from areas of China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

“In the 1800s in Alabama, having a camellia in your yard was like having a Rolex watch,” Forrest Latta, the Alabama Camellia Society’s Vice President, told This is Alabama. “It was only the grand old homes that had camellias back in those days.”

Camellias popularity flourished in the years to come, possibly because of its beautiful blooms when everything else is dead around it.

According to This is Alabama, Governor John Patterson signed a bill into law in 1959 making the Camellia the first official flower. It is suggested that Patterson’s wife, who was raised in Butler County, played a hand in his decision.

The Alabama Camellia Society keeps the love alive for the multi-petal flower and maintains a webpage and Facebook page to share their activities throughout the year.

January 7 was proclaimed “Camellia Day” by the Alabama Legislature in 2014, the flower’s prime blooming season.

Keep an eye out around town for the beautiful blooms. Greenville isn’t called the Camellia City for nothing!