The popularity of camellias reached their peak in the 1840s, especially after a beautiful Parisian courtesan died in 1847 at the age of 23.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Her name was Marie Duplessis and since she loved white camellias her admirers blanketed her coffin with them.

She was also immortalized by Alexander Dumas as the heroine of the play, La Dame aux Camelias, under the pseudonym Marguerite Gauthier who for 25 days every month wore white camellias, and for the remaining 5 days wore red ones. Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor starred in the film version, Camille, and in the opening sequence, Garbo stops at a florist to purchase her nosegay of white camellias. Although she raises them to her nose and swoons at their fragrance, there were no fragrant camellias in cultivation at that time.

High Fragrance Camellia