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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETICS, GENETIC RESOURCE EVALUATION, AND GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF LANDSCAPE TREES AND SHRUBS

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

Title: 'Anacostia' Camellia

Author
item Pooler, Margaret

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 3, 2010
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Citation: Pooler, M.R. 2011. 'Anacostia' Camellia. HortScience. 46:139-140.

Interpretive Summary: A new Camellia japonica developed at the U.S. National Arboretum is described. ‘Anacostia’ was selected for its abundant, large (up to 4-inches in diameter), semi-double, medium-pink flowers; dark glossy evergreen foliage; rounded growth habit, and increased cold hardiness. It is a moderate-sized shrub that has grown 12 feet high and 7 feet wide in 30 years in Washington, D.C. It is well-suited for use as a specimen plant, hedge or screen, foundation plant, mass planting, or as a backdrop in the shrub border. ‘Anacostia’ was selected from a controlled cross made in the late 1960s by Sylvester March. The female parent was a white-flowered selection of Camellia japonica, while the pollen parent was C. japonica ‘Z’, a reportedly cold-tolerant selection that subsequently survived several cold winters at the U.S. National Arboretum. ‘Anacostia’ was initially selected and accessioned in 1973, but was not effectively distributed to cooperators for extensive testing. Therefore, descriptions of growth rate, habit, and hardiness are based primarily on performance at the National Arboretum. Like other C. japonica cultivars, ‘Anacostia’ grows and flowers best in filtered shade in a well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It propagates relatively easily by cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings should be taken in mid- to late summer and treated with a quick dip in liquid rooting hormone containing 1,000 ppm IBA and 500 ppm NAA and placed under mist. ‘Anacostia’ can also be grafted.

Technical Abstract: A new Camellia japonica, ‘Anacostia’, developed at the U.S. National Arboretum is described. ‘Anacostia’ (NA35667, PI659061) is a seedling selection grown from a controlled cross made in the late 1960s by Skip March. The female parent was an undetermined white-flowered selection of C. japonica, while the pollen parent was C. japonica ‘Z’, a reportedly cold-tolerant selection that subsequently survived the cold 1976-78 winters at the National Arboretum. ‘Anacostia’ was initially selected and accessioned in 1973 by Skip March, but was not sent out for extensive testing. Based on field performance at the National Arboretum, ‘Anacostia’ was named and released in 2010. It is a moderate-sized, rounded, evergreen shrub that has reached a height of 4 m and width of 2.5 m in 30 years in Washington, D.C. (USDA Hardiness Zone 7b; USDA, 1990). The foliage is glossy dark green. Large semi-double pink flowers appear in early April in Washington, DC, and last for several weeks. Flowers are an average of 10 cm in diameter with conspicuous bright-yellow anthers on 3-cm-long stamens. Fruit set is light to non-existent. Like other C. japonica cultivars, ‘Anacostia’ grows and flowers best in filtered shade in a well-drained, but not dry, slightly acidic soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9 and possibly into Zone 6b. It propagates relatively easily by semi-hardwood cuttings taken in mid- to late summer and treated with a quick dip in liquid rooting hormone containing 1,000 ppm IBA and 500 ppm NAA. ‘Anacostia’ can also be grafted, and can likely be micropropagated. ‘Anacostia’ is well-suited for use in the landscape as a single specimen plant, an evergreen hedge or screen, foundation plant, in a mass planting, or as a backdrop in the shrub border.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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