The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Tea: None known
Scientific Name: Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze
Family: Theaceae (Tea Family)


The tea leaves that we use for our morning tea, in the form of either tea bags or loose tea, are the young shoots and leaves of the tea plant in its natural state a small evergreen tree which can reach a height of 15 metres. In the tea plantations the plants are pruned down to shrubs of less than 2 metres to allow the pickers to harvest the leaves more easily. The dark green, shiny oblong leaves are so densely packed that, from a distance, tea plantations look as though they are a sea of dense green cushions. The very fragrant white flowers, which can measure up to three centimetres across, contain a large number of yellow stamens. The resemblance to its relative the cultivated Camellia japonica, often referred to simply as camellia, cannot be overlooked. The tea plant likes a mild, rainy climate and thrives best in tropical and subtropical regions.