Description from Flora of China
Camellia albescens Hung T. Chang; C. albosericea Hung T. Chang; C. albovillosa Hung T. Chang; C. bailinshanica Hung T. Chang et al.; C. bambusifolia Hung T. Chang et al.; C. borealiyunnanica Hung T. Chang; C. brevicolumna Hung T. Chang et al.; C. brevigyna Hung T. Chang; C. brevipetiolata Hung T. Chang; C. chunii Hung T. Chang; C. chunii var. pentaphylax (Hung T. Chang) Hung T. Chang; C. heterophylla Hu; C. jinshajiangica Hung T. Chang; C. kangdianica Hung T. Chang et al.; C. kweichowensis Hung T. Chang; C. oligophlebia Hung T. Chang; C. paucipetala Hung T. Chang; C. pentapetala Hung T. Chang; C. pentaphylacoides Hung T. Chang; C. pentaphylax Hung T. Chang; C. pitardii Cohen-Stuart var. yunnanica Sealy; C. reticulata f. albescens (Hung T. Chang) T. L. Ming; C. reticulata f. simplex Sealy; C. stichoclada Hung T. Chang; C. subliberopetala Hung T. Chang; C. xichangensis Hung T. Chang; C. xylocarpa (Hu) Hung T. Chang; Desmitus reticulata (Lindley) Rafinesque; Thea reticulata (Lindley) Pierre (1887), not Elmer (1915); Yunnanea xylocarpa Hu.
Trees or shrubs, (2-)4-15 m tall. Young branches grayish brown; current year branchlets green to pale brown, thick, pubescent but glabrescent. Petiole 6-13 mm, pubescent or glabrescent; leaf blade oblong to oblong-elliptic, rarely elliptic to broadly elliptic, (4-)6-10(-14) × (2.5-)3-5(-6.3) cm, leathery, abaxially pale green and sparsely appressed pubescent or glabrescent, adaxially dark green, shiny, and glabrous, midvein yellowish green, abaxially elevated, and adaxially level, secondary veins 6-8 on each side of midvein and raised on both surfaces, reticulate veins visible to slightly raised on both surfaces or adaxially impressed, base cuneate, broadly cuneate, or rarely rounded, margin serrulate, apex acute to shortly acuminate and with an obtuse tip. Flowers axillary or subterminal, solitary or to 3 in a cluster, 7-10 cm in diam. (to more than 20 cm in diam. for some cultivars), subsessile. Bracteoles and sepals 9-11, caducous after anthesis, green, imbricate, increasing in size from outer to inner, thinly leathery, both surfaces velutinous, margin narrowly membranous; outer bracteoles and sepals orbicular, 3-5 mm; inner bracteoles and sepals broadly ovate, to 2 cm. Petals 5-7 (often more for some cultivars), rose to pink, rarely almost white, obovate to broadly obovate, 4-6 × 3-4.5 cm (larger for some cultivars), apex emarginate; inner petals connate for ca. 1 cm. Stamens 3-4 cm, glabrous; outer filament whorl basally connate for 1-2 cm. Ovary globose, 3-4 mm in diam., tomentose, 3(-5)-loculed; style 2.5-3.5 cm, glabrous or basally with pubescence, apically 3(-5)-lobed or parted. Capsule green turning pale brown, globose to oblate, 3.5-4 × 4-5 cm, 3(-5)-loculed with 1 or 2 seeds per locule; pericarp ca. l cm thick and firmly fleshy when fresh but 5-6 mm and stiffly leathery to woody when dry. Seeds brown, semiglobose to globose, 1-1.5 cm in diam. Fl. Jan-Mar, fr. Sep-Oct. 2n = 30*, 60*, 90*.
This species is cultivated or semicultivated in W Yunnan as a seed oil crop. Selected forms, particularly with large, double or semidouble flowers, have been propagated for hundreds of years as garden plants in Dali, Kunming, Lijiang, Tengchong, and adjacent areas. Some extant cultivars date back to at least the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 C.E.).
"Camellia brachygyna" as given in FRPS (49(3): 74. 1998) was a typographical error for C. brevigyna included in synonymy here.
● Forests; 1000-3200 m. W Guizhou, SW Sichuan, Yunnan.