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Next Significant Historic Ornamental Camellia Tree Awards to Goto, Japan

11 November 2021   114

The next awards under the ICS Apoliu Declaration are the first two awards given to Japanese camellia trees.  The trees were recommended by the Goto Camellia Society (五島椿協会) in early 2020 (and would have been announced at the Goto International Camellia Congress had it taken place in 2020).  The two awards are as follows:

The two trees of the Fukue(福江) pair of Camellia japonica are now over 360 years old.  This ICS award is the first one
to recognise a Community of Significant Historic Ornamental Trees (albeit only two of them)

(i)  Significant Historic Ornamental Camellia Tree Community to Fukue Camellia japonica (surviving pair), Ōsako area, Nonokire, Goto City (NO. JP0001-0003-C-20200304).  The significant historic features of these trees are as follows:

     Surviving pair of red flowering Camellia japonica, remnant of a community over 360 years old;

     Designated as a natural monument of Nagasaki Prefecture in 1967; and

     Symbolic of early Goto Camellia plantings for seed oil and windbreak purposes.

Seibo-no-ōtsubaki (聖母大椿) or Giant Virgin Mary Tree of Miiraku, Goto City

Flower of Seibo-no-ōtsubaki along a rustic path, Miiraku

The second award was given to what would be designated as a sacred camellia tree.

(ii) Significant Historic Ornamental Tree to Seibo-no-ōtsubaki (聖母大椿)or Giant Virgin Mary Tree of Miiraku, Goto City (NO. JP0002-0004-I-20200304). 

     Red flowering Camellia japonica at least 300 years old;

     Nurtured by hidden Japanese Christians during the Edo Period, for seed and windbreak purposes; and

     Important historical marker of settlement of hidden Japanese Christians on Goto.

The ICS Committee for Historic Camellia Conservation hopes to present the awards formally at the next International Congress at the latest, unless they are successfully conveyed beforehand to Michihiro Tanigawa of Goto City Administration.  Thank you to the Dr Takayuki Tanaka and the Goto Camellia Society for providing the background information and photos

 Dr. Stephen Utick

Chair ICS Committee for Historic Camellia Conservation