Camellia Sinensis: The Tea Plant

Camellia sinensis, often simply called the tea plant, is a type of evergreen shrub. This plant is originally from East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, but now it’s grown all over the world in warm areas. Tea comes from Camellia Sinensis plant, anything else is tisanes! 
Tea in Garden in Nepal

Camellia Sinensis: The Tea Plant

Hello Friends! Today, we’re going on an exciting journey into the world of tea. Our guide for this adventure is a special plant called Camellia sinensis. So, buckle up and let’s get started!

Introduction to Camellia Sinensis

Camellia sinensis, often simply called the tea plant, is a type of evergreen shrub. It’s not very tall, usually kept under 2 meters, and it has a strong root that goes deep into the ground. This plant is originally from East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, but now it’s grown all over the world in warm areas. The leaves of Camellia sinensis are very special because they can be used to make different types of tea, like green tea or black tea.

The Taxonomy of Camellia Sinensis

The Camellia sinensis is part of the kingdom Plantae, which includes all plants. It belongs to the order Ericales, a group of flowering plants that also includes primroses and kiwis. The family it belongs to is Theaceae, a group of flowering plants that are commonly known as the tea family. The genus is Camellia, which includes around 100-300 species of evergreen shrubs and trees. Finally, the species is sinensis, which means ‘from China’ in Latin.

There are two major varieties of Camellia sinensis used for tea: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (Chinese tea) and Camellia sinensis var. assamica (Assam tea). There are also other varieties like Camellia sinensis var. pubilimba and Camellia sinensis var. dehungensis, but it’s unclear whether these are their own species or hybrids of sinensis and assamica.

Cultivation of the Tea Plant

The cultivation of Camellia sinensis requires a lot of care. The plants love well-drained, acidic soil and plenty of rainfall. They also need a warm climate, but not too hot! The best quality teas are often grown at higher elevations, where the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavor.

Pests and Diseases

Like all plants, Camellia sinensis can be affected by pests and diseases. Some common ones include tea mosquito bugs and blister blight. Farmers use various methods to protect their plants and ensure a healthy crop. These methods can include the use of natural predators, biopesticides, and other sustainable farming practices.

The Role of Camellia Sinensis in Tea Production

The leaves, leaf buds, and stems of Camellia sinensis can be used to produce tea. White tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea (which includes pu-erh tea) and black tea are all harvested from one of two major varieties grown today, C. sinensis var. sinensis and C. s. var. assamica. The type of tea produced depends on how the leaves are processed after they are harvested.

The Impact of Microclimate on Tea

The taste of your tea can change depending on where it’s grown. This is due to the microclimate, or the specific conditions in a small area. Factors like temperature, humidity, and sunlight can all affect the flavor of the tea. This is why teas from different regions, even though they are from the same plant species, can taste so different!

Tea Plantations Around the Globe

Tea is grown in many places around the world, each with its own traditions. From the misty hills of Illam in Nepal to the lush fields of Assam in India, and the ancient tea gardens of China, each region brings something unique to the table. These traditions often include unique methods of cultivation and processing, as well as special ceremonies and rituals associated with tea drinking.

That’s all for now, folks! What we learned today is the key knowledge that lot of people don’t have – Tea comes from Camellia Sinensis plant, anything else is tisanes!

Source Acknowledgement:

https://vegetables.wsu.edu/tea/

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/camellia-sinensis/

https://www.gardenia.net/plant/camellia-sinensis

 

Authored By:

Bhaskar Dahal

2nd Generation Tea Entrepreneur

Founder and C.E.O, Nepal Hills Tea Inc. 

 

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