Camellia Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Camellia Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

The Camellia flower is native to China. There, the flower has a rich history, especially in the southwest region. These flowers are also popular in Japan where they are often called  Japanese Rose.

Camellia tattoos almost always represent some form of love. Red Japanese Roses are symbols of passionate and desirous love, whereas pink flowers show faithfulness and devotion. White Japanese Roses are a symbol of innocence, but they aren’t as popular as the pink and red varieties.

Keep reading to learn more about Camellia tattoos, including their cultural significance, history, and characteristics.

What Is the History of Camellia Tattoos?

The Camellia is one of the most culturally significant flowers worldwide. As you will learn below, cultures from every continent and time period have their own understanding of this delicate and beautiful flower.

Because of this fact, Camellia tattoos are popular.


These flowers became increasingly popular in tattoo form during what some call the tattoo renaissance of the 1990s and onward.

Today, these tattoos are as popular as ever because of their beauty and abundance of meanings.Though they are most popular among women, men also appreciate their delicate beauty.

What Do Camellias Symbolize?

Camellia flowers are rich in metaphorical meanings and symbolism. In China, this flower is used to represent the union between lovers, both in life and after death.

The layers of petals represent the woman, whereas the calyx (the green leaf holding the flower together) represents the man/protector.

This meaning comes from the flower’s delicate petals that are laid overtop one another and the calyx that holds all of the petals together. What’s unique about this flower is the fact that both the petals and the calyx fall away together when the flower dies. For most other flowers, the petals fall off first.

After this Japanese Rose was introduced beyond Asian culture, its symbolism only grew. The name “Camellia” literally translates to “helper of the priest” in Latin.

It was specifically named after Georg Joseph Kamel, a Jesuit botanist who spent decades of his life trying to discover new medical treatments from plant sources. Even though this botanist is not known to have worked with the flower specifically, it is named in his honor.

Even today, the meaning behind the Camellia has developed. In American culture, a white Camellia flower represents understanding and patience. This is most clearly seen in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Needless to say, the Camellia is steeped in cultural significance and meanings. Cultures from all over the globe cherish this beautiful flower and ascribe a unique meaning to it.


What Do Camellia Tattoos Mean?

Camellia tattoos have a lot of meaning. Almost all of the meanings are positive and associated with love or desire.

Individuals more knowledgeable of the symbolism behind the flower can also have it symbolize other meanings as well.

Positive Meanings

Most Camellia tattoos are associated with positive meanings rooted in the cultural significance of the flowers. Often, the exact meaning is dependent on the color of the Camellia, not just the flower itself.

Here are some of the most commonly found positive meanings behind these tattoos:

  • Desire
  • Devotion
  • Innocence
  • Longing
  • Love
  • Passion
  • Patience
  • Perfection

Negative Meanings

As you might imagine, desire and longing can quickly turn into something negative, as can the desire for perfection.

As a result, Camellia can symbolize destruction as a result of these pursuits. Here are some examples of negative meanings found in these tattoos:

  • Unhealthy desire, especially of a sexual kind
  • Unhealthy striving for perfection
  • Being overcome with desire

Characteristics and Styles of Camellia Tattoos

Camellia tattoos are favored among individuals who like colored tattoos. The reason for this is that these flowers are noteworthy for their vibrant colors.

Not to mention, the color of the flower impacts its meaning. Hence, individuals who select the Camellia tattoo like to keep the color intact. Pink and red Camellia are the most popular.

There are some individuals who prefer black and white Camellia tattoos. These tattoos are incredibly ornate and show the intricate layering and details of the flower. In this case, the color doesn’t matter as much as the actual flower does.

As for size, Camellia tattoos can be large or small. They are popular dainty tattoos, but they can also take up the majority of one’s shoulder, hip, or arm. In other words, you can truly customize Camellia tattoos to fit your tattoo style and spacing.


Where Do Camellia Tattoos Usually Go?

Camellia tattoos can be found on all parts of the body. They are most popular among women, which renders them to be popular arm tattoos, wrist tattoos, and back tattoos.

Dainty renditions of the Camellia are often found on the ankle, wrist, and collarbone, whereas larger tattoos are found across the shoulder, back, and even hip.

Does the Type of Camellia Affect Tattoo Meaning?

The type of Camellia does not affect tattoo meaning, but the color does. These tattoos typically come in three colors: white, pink, and red.

If you select a black and white tattoo, the color will not matter, but you will want to select the color strategically if you are getting a colored tattoo.

Red is the most common color. It represents passion, longing, love, and desire. The second most common is pink. Pink is more associated with patience, faithfulness, and love. White is rarely used, but it is associated with innocence.


With this in mind, select a red flower if you want your tattoo to be associated with romantic love, passion, and desire, but select a pink flower if you want the tattoo to represent the more subtle parts of love, including devotion and faithfulness.


Camellia tattoos symbolize love. The exact color of the flower further solidifies the symbolism, with red representing desirous romantic love, pink representing devotion, and white representing innocence.

If you decide to get one of these tattoos, they can go practically anywhere, be any size, and match your overall style and aesthetics.


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