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Studies on Propagation Techniques of Camellia luteoflora Y.K. Li ex H.T. Chang & F.A. Zeng

Volume 2 Number 4 - December 1994

Tian-cai Zou, Shao-gang Zhang, Zhu-lin Zhang, and Hongying Zhou.

Camellia luteoflora is endemic to Guizhou and is only found in Chisui city, Guizhou province. It has a beautiful yellow flower which is always like a bud ready to open. The seed which represents 60-65% of the fruit weight has a high quality vegetable fat containing oleic acid and the leaves contain Xanthin. Recent fieldwork has shown that there are only about 2,000 living trees of Camellia luteoflora and it is thus a rare and threatened species. It is extremely important to improve the conservaton of its germplasm, research into propagation techniques, publicise the cultivation techniques and domesticate and introduce this species into cultivation. Since 1985, Guizhou Botanical Garden has studied propagation techniques for Camellia luteoflora which includes seed germination, layering and woody cutting techniques.

Seed Germination

Experiments were undertaken planting seed collected in November in pots, seed beds and lichen on rocks which were examined the following March. The seed bed was the best method. The following year seed was planted after 10 and 40 days storage in open seed beds and covered and not covered with soil and with and without an additional plastic sheet and examined the following February. Seed germination was in the range of 28.3-48.3% for all methods. The seed sown after 10 days gave good germination and seedlings reached 8.5 cm. but none of the seed stored for 40 days germinated.

Thus the results show that seed should be sown soon after collection and not be stored in a dry condition and the success of germination can reach 48.3%.

Seed germination was observed in the natural habitat. Five plots 10mý were chosen in Jinhuo village, Jinshagou, Chisui city. The seed which fell to the ground had a germination of 46% but in practice this was reduced because the seed is very attractive to animals and vulnerable to pests and diseases so natural germination is less than 0.5%.


From March to June, 1986, over 100 branches of Camellia luteoflora were layered. In November it was found that every cutting had rooted. The cuttings were then grown in the seedling bed and planted out during the spring and summer of the following year. 85 cuttings were living and growing well. The cuttings made by this method could flower in the year of transplant. However, layering of wild plants is difficult because plants of Camellia luteoflora usually grow on sheer and overhanging rocks and the trunk is tall and thin.


From June 1986 to September 1988, experiments were made taking woody cuttings. The factors taken into account were the time the cuttings were taken (from April to September), the number of buds (one to four buds) and the type of hormone treatment. It was found that the best time for taking cuttings was at the end of spring to early autumn and the cuttings should have more than two buds and treatment with 300 ppm IAA (indol--3-actic acid) for about 1.5 hours or 1,000 ppm IBA (indole butyric acid) for 5 seconds increased the success. Propagation by cuttings could give up to 55% success.


Seed takes about 3 months to germinate. Seed germination reached 48.3% if planted in open beds with or without a covering of soil and with or without a covering of black plastic sheeting. Vegetative propagation by layering was more successful showing 85% rooting. Propagation by cuttings gave 55% success. The best time for taking cuttings was at the end of spring and early autumn and the cuttings should be treated with 300ppm IAA (indol--3-actic acid) for about 1.5 hours or 1,000 ppm IBA (indole butyric acid) for 5 seconds.


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