To follow up the previous post about camellia, one of the first things I ever learned about them was that unlike most flowers, they don’t just lose their petals little by little.

Although some varieties do shed petals somewhat profusely.

Rather, most of them just roll off the tree in their entirely and hit the ground with a plop–pottori!–and this reminds some people of heads. Therefore, the darker association with camellia is that they can signify an untimely, sudden death.

Of course, there are plenty of other flowers with morbid meanings, and it’s not as if this is the first thing that comes to mind people see these flowers. In the Edo era, when the castle town of Matsue was founded, these bushes were planted in abundance because their oil was used for polishing katana–nowadays it mostly used for polishing hair. Some people might also be reminded of the 1962 Akira Kurosawa film Sanjuro and their use as a plot device in that movie (not to mention part of the title character’s on-the-spot name).

Whatever the association might be, where there are camellia bushes (or trees, as the case may be!), there are fallen blossoms on the ground, and I rather enjoy them. It’s hard to say why–maybe because it’s interesting to see where they wind up, or maybe it’s similar to how people feel when they see cherry blossoms scatter?












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