[kuh-meel-yuh, -mee-lee-uh]


any of several shrubs of the genus Camellia, especially C. japonica, native to Asia, having glossy evergreen leaves and white, pink, red, or variegated roselike flowers.

Origin of camellia

1745–55; named after G. J. Camellus (1661–1706), Jesuit missionary, who brought it to Europe; see -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for camellia



any ornamental shrub of the Asian genus Camellia, esp C. japonica, having glossy evergreen leaves and showy roselike flowers, usually white, pink or red in colour: family TheaceaeAlso called: japonica

Word Origin for camellia

C18: New Latin, named after Georg Josef Kamel (1661–1706), Moravian Jesuit missionary, who introduced it to Europe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for camellia

1753, named by Linnæus from Latinized form of Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706), Moravian-born Jesuit who described the flora of the island of Luzon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper