About Tea » the Tea Plant
the Tea Plant
teas come from an evergreen shrub known as Camellia Sinensis. Whether
it is a white, green, oolong, scented, or black tea, they are all
produced from one tea plant. After a debate over whether or not the tea
plant indigenous to the Yunnan province of China was the same as the
tea plant found in the Assam region of India, the International Code of
Botanical Nomenclature declared that they are both from the evergreen
plant of the Camellia family.
are a few differences between the tea plant grown in China and in
India. The tea plant that flourishes in China, Camellia Sinensis, has
leaves of approximately 2 inches in length, grows to a height of 15
feet, and has a long life span of a hundred years or more. It thrives
primarily in China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. The tea plant from India,
Camellia Assamica, tends to have longer leaves ranging from 6 to 14
inches in length, grows to a height of 60 feet, and has a shorter life
span of approximately 50 years. It grows primarily in tropical
climates, such as India, Sri Lanka and parts of Southeast Asia.
Camellia Sinensis evergreen tea trees are pruned to bush sizes which
encourag the growth of new leaves or flushes. The leaves are grown on
the branches stemming from the stalks of the tea tree. The underside of
the tender young tea leaves are covered with fine white hairs. As the
tea leaves age, the underside hair disappears and becomes more
leathery. The first sprouts of the season are called the first flush
and the second sprouts, the second flush. A new tea plant must be at
least five years of age before tea leaves are plucked from its stalks.
It takes approximately four pounds of fresh tea leaves to produce one
pound of parched tea.
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