This plant is a common small tree throughout the warmer regions of the Japanese archipelago. In recent times it has been widely cultivated as a garden plant, but in the not so distant past the oil derived from its bulbous fruits was used as a multipurpose product, serving as a food, a hair and skin treatments.
Camellia japonica in nature is an evergreen subcanopy tree, commonly 3 to 6 meters tall, with occasional specimens being quite a bit higher than that. The tallest on record is 18 meters (that’s almost 60 feet!). The bark is an even gray color and very smooth.
The wide, slightly serrated ovate leaves are borne in an alternating pattern and typically measure between 5-10 centimeters long and 3-6 centimeters wide, ending in a pointed tip. The soft, new leaves are most actively in growth after flowering in the spring. Flower buds are formed in the fall and over winter until opening in late winter or early spring.
The flower petals of wild plants are typically deep red, though pure white forms have been reported. Wild flowering types commonly boast only a handful of broad petals and the blossoms tend to remain rather cupped compared to many of the cultivated varieties. The fruits are nearly perfectly round before opening, starting out apple green and maturing into a purple-red. They open in three sections, each containing anywhere from 1-2 large brown seeds.
Flowering season in southern Japan starts from January to April May.
Camellia oil (also known as tea oil and Tsubaki oil) has ben used in Japan for centuries, the tree was planted and the seed collected to extract its precious oil. It has been used in soaps, in hair oil, lubricants and paints, and remarkably is even edible. To this day, sumo wrestlers use it to keep their hair in place, and it is used to fry tempura since it makes the batter more light in texture. It is also used in salads and sauces.
Camellia Seed oil skincare Benefits
Camellia Seed Oil is an an excellent emollient with an exceptional antioxidant qualities, being abundant Oleic Acids, Linoleic Acids, Squalene lipids, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Magnesium and Zinc. the oil quickly penetrates into the skin without leaving a greasy feel, it helps break down dirt and makeup This oil is also able to effectively replenish skin’s moisture which provide protection from environmental aggressors due to its high antioxidant level. We love using this oil in our Rinsable Cleansing Balm