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Camellia sinensis

Tea plant

About the plant

Camellia sinensis is native to eastern and southern Asia, where it grows best living beneath a canopy of taller trees.

  • Least concern

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Good garden plant
    Plant can be grown outside in the UK
  • Human food
    Plant supplies food for humans
  • Medicine
    Plant or components of this plant are used in medicine
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Camellias first reached Europe around 1739
  • The basis for most tea you drink
  • Leaves are picked by hand
  • Tea bushes can be seen in the Woodland Glade
  • Require acid soil

About your cuppa

The leaves of Camellia sinensis are used for tea. Aside from water, tea is the most commonly drunk beverage in the world, over three million tonnes of C.sinensis are grown annually.

Drinking tea is the centre of many social rituals: Japanese tea ceremony, British teatime or Indian chai breaks. In Britain alone we drink 165 million cups of tea a day. That’s 62 billion cups a year!


Black versus green

Two varieties of Camellia are used to make tea. C. sinensis var. sinensis leaves are used for green tea and China black tea. C. sinensis var. assamica are used to make Assam (Indian) black tea.

Black and green tea come from the same species, but are processed differently.

In China, tea has been used as a medicinal infusion, for chewing and as a pickle for over 4,000 years.

The global tea market is worth about £40 billion
  • Least concern

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Good garden plant
    Plant can be grown outside in the UK
  • Human food
    Plant supplies food for humans
  • Medicine
    Plant or components of this plant are used in medicine
  • Click on icon to reveal more