[NAFEX] fruit exporing for oil producing fruits (camellias)

Mark Lee markl at nytec.com
Mon Jan 20 15:49:24 EST 2003

I was researching olives as a novel edible landscaping plant for my garden
in Seattle about a month ago.  Today I ran across a plant fact that really
surprised me.  There is a camellia grown in China, Camellia oleifera, whose
seed contains 40-50% oil.  The quality of this vegetable cooking oil is
similar to olive oil. Roughly one out of seven people in China eat food
prepared with this oil, mainly in Hunan.  Annual production is around
500,000 tonnes.  Why haven't I ever heard of this plant before?  It is one
of the hardiest of camellias.  It has recently been used to produce a line
of cold hardy camellias in a breeding program in the US.  The arboretum in
Seattle lists this plant in its inventory.  I don't know how it will do as
far as producing oil in my garden, but I definitely want to have a few as a
conversation piece.
-Mark Lee, Seattle z7

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