Close observation of the natural world is
critical to understanding chabana. One is encouraged to
drop all self-reference in order to see clearly each stem
as it is, its habitat, its growth pattern, its particular
and unique coloration, form, and character, to become familiar
with it as it grows. Most of the advice among the Seven
Guidelines for Chabana iterated by Rikyu koji is based on
such empirical knowledge. For example, place the flowers
as they grow in the fields, or in winter use woody-stemmed
flowers and in summer, flowering grasses.
Thus from November through April camellias
are the primary focus of chabana, often being accompanied
by a branch with buds or nascent leaves. Incredibly over
500 varieties of camellia exist. From the Edo Period in
Japan, cultivars of this plant group began to be identified
and named, often with poetic flair. This was accomplished
through close attention to fine details: the shape of buds
and early blooming; the colorful scenery of petals; the
form of the stamen; the shape and curve of leaves. The poetic
names refer to the visual qualities of the camellia flowers
or the time of year that they bloom.
The following diagrams of blooming forms and
color scenery of camellia varieties highlight the distinct
variations that exist within this plant group.
一重咲き Hitoe Single Petal Bloom
Blooms with fewer than 8 petals, and the flower
center is standard. There are 7 possible shapes within the
Hitoe bloom, noted below.
Literally "boar snout." Very small blooms, not
more than 4 cm diameter. In Wabisuke varieties such as Kochō
胡蝶, Ōwari Wabisuke 尾張侘助,
and Kansaki Aka Wabisuke 寒咲き赤侘助.
Tsutsu Funnel Bloom
The bloom basically doesn't widen beyond a V-shape. Tendency
towards long petals funneling to a widening mouth in varieties
such as Sasameyuki 細雪, Ikkyū 一休,
or Daisenhaku 大山白.
In early stages, this bloom is somewhere between a Funnel
and a Cup shape. At fuller blooming the petals edges curve
back on themselves. Varieties such as Amagashita 天ケ下,
Kakure Iso 隠れ磯, and Sakasa Fuji さかさ富士.
Kakae Enfolded Bloom
Also known as Jewel 玉
Bloom. In contrast to the cylinder shapes, the petals hug
inward. Although quite popular, camellia of this form are
few. Seen in varieties such as Tamagasumi 玉霞,
Dainichi no Akebono 大日の曙, Mitsuhime
蜜姫, and so forth.
Wan Cup Bloom
The base of the flower is wide and rounded, with an overall
shape like a teabowl. Examples include Akebono 曙,
Beni Myōrenji 紅妙蓮寺, and
Kamo Hon'ami 加茂本阿弥. Flowers
shallower at the base, less rounded, and smaller in diameter
are known as Sake Cup Bloom 盃咲き, though
the differentiation is frequently not noted.
Heikai Flattened Bloom
The petals open wide and flat, especially seen in Higo 肥後 Camellias and Yuki ユキ Camellias. The stamens exhibit the hearty appearance of a plum stamen. Examples include Hi no Maru 日の丸, Yukimiguruma 雪見車, Kazebana 風花, and Kumagai 熊谷.
Kenben Sword Tip Bloom
Also known as Kikyō キキョウ
Bloom. The edges of the flower petals fold inward on themselves
sharply, nestling closely together. The shape is most clear
when the flower first opens. This shape is seen in Kikutsuki
菊月, Momosuzume 桃雀, and Sukiya
Chinese Doll Bloom
A single-petaled bloom, whose
central stamens and anthers are formed like small flower
petals, making a beautiful and tidy flower center. Exemplified
in the Bokuhan Camellia 朴伴, Shiro Bokuhan
白朴伴, and Beni Karako 紅唐子.
Other names for the Bokuhan Camellia are Jitsugetsu 日月,
or Gekkō 月光.
八重咲き Yae Eightfold
The term refers not only to flowers with a literal eight layers of petals,
but applies in general to multi-petaled blossoms with some having as many as 100 petals.
The stamens are of the standard upright cylinder shape. Eightfold Bloom camellias mutate readily.
Varieties include Ezo Nishiki 蝦夷錦, Shusu Kasane 繻子重,
Akashigata 明石潟, and Miura Otome 三浦乙女.
Other blooming forms within the
Yae type are shown below.
Renge Lotus Bloom
A kind of trough is created in the center of each petal by the edges gently curving upward.
Each petal is slightly separated from the others. Both features are known as the lotus blooming habit.
With a strong sense of 3-dimensionality, this type is much loved in Japan.
Examples include the Hagoromo 羽衣, Haru no utena 春の台, and Miyakodori 都鳥.
Sen'e Thousandfold Bloom
The abundant petals are arranged in three, four, or more
layers. The stamens may be lacking, or merely obscured throughout
the entire blooming cycle. The Otome Tsubaki 乙女椿,
Kishū Tsukasa 紀州司, and Shiragiku 白菊
are among this type.
Hōju Mani Jewel Bloom
The inner petals remain tightly clustered around the stamens
with the appearance of a Cintamani Jewel, the wish-fulfilling
jewel of Kannon. This type occurs within both the Yae Bloom
and the Sen'e Bloom. Camellias of this type include Tama
Tebako 玉手箱, Yatsuo Nishiki 八尾錦, Koshi
no Reijin 越の麗人, and Hōju Sunago 宝珠砂子.
Retsuben Radial Bloom
The flower petals are aligned in a systematic and orderly
fashion that radiates outward in multiples of six. It is
a variation on the Sen'e type bloom. The type is not so
stable and easily reverts to Sen'e. Varieties include Ayako
Mai 綾子舞, Miura Kazekuruma 三浦風車, and Hasumijiro 蓮見白.
Nidan Two-stage Bloom
Also referred to as the Watchtower Bloom, Yagura 櫓. The stamens rise up conically within the petals, and look like petals themselves. The appearance is as if one flower were set atop another. Few in numbers, the Hanaguruma 花車, Genji Kuruma 源氏車, and Aiaigasa 相合傘 are amongst this type.
Botan Peony Bloom
A multi-petaled bloom in which the pistils and stamens are
broken up and interspersed among the small central petals.
The central petals resemble rabbit ears. This type includes
Hikaru Genji 光源氏, Shirabyōshi
白拍子, and Shuchūka 酒中花.
Shishi Lion Bloom
Small and large petals mound up to comprise the central flower.
Large and small, irregular stamens are both hidden and visible among the petals.
Examples are Arajishi 荒獅子, Daikagura 太神楽, Watatsumi わたつみ, and Yuki Tōrō 雪灯籠.
縦絞り Tate Shibori
白筋入り Shiro Suji Iri
星斑 Hoshi Madara
Cloud Form Blush
横杢斑 Yokomoku Madara
Wood Grain Blush
紅覆輪 Beni Fukurin
Painted camellia pictures by Nagai Sokei Sensei 永井宗圭 from
No ni saku chabana zufu 野に咲く茶花図譜.