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130315_081_Camellia japonica 'Middlemist's Red'.jpg
Camellia japonica 'Middlemist's Red'. Brought from China in 1804 by John Middlemist, a nurseryman in Shpeherd's Bush, for Kew Gardens. Material from it was used by Dr Clifford Parks and his graduate students at the University of North Carolina, USA, to identify the two oldest camellias in New Zealand, planted at the Treaty House in Waitangi in 1833. Iso-enzyme analysis (an alternative to DNA analysis) determined that one matched this 'Middlemist's Red'. The other matched an unknown camellia planted at Government House in Sydney, Australia. (From catalogue, Camellias in the Conservatory Festival 2011, Chiswick House and Gardens).