Camellia japonica 'Lady Clare'
(aka 'Akashigata' in Japan) "Akashi Bay" (trans.) is from Edo (now known as Tokyo) and has semi-double flowers with a distinct column of stamens. The flowers are deep pink and appear in early to mid-season. 'Lady Clare' is a very dependable landscape plant because it is tough and has good cold hardiness; large plants are often seen in old gardens in this area. This is a triploid variety which means it has three sets of chromosomes rather than the two sets usually found in C. japonica. The leaves are large and thick while the plant has a somewhat spreading growth habit.
Hardy to USDA Zone: 7a
Growth rate: Vigorous, upright/spreading
Blooms (NC): Feb to Mar
Bloom size: Very large, 5+ inches