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Camellia sinensis

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Title: Camellia sinensis  
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Subject: Green tea, Korean tea, Tea, List of Lepidoptera that feed on Camellia, History of tea
Collection: Camellia, Medicinal Plants of Asia, Plants Described in 1753, Plants Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tea
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Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Camellia
Species: C. sinensis
Binomial name
Camellia sinensis
(L.) Kuntze
  • C. angustifolia Hung T. Chang
  • C. arborescens Hung T. Chang & F. L. Yu
  • C. assamica (J. W. Masters) Hung T. Chang
  • C. dehungensis Hung T. Chang & B. H. Chen
  • C. dishiensis F. C. Zhang et al.
  • C. longlingensis F. C. Zhang et al.
  • C. multisepala Hung T. Chang & Y. J. Tang
  • C. oleosa (Loureiro) Rehder
  • C. parvisepala Hung T. Chang.
  • C. parvisepaloides Hung T. Chang & H. S. Wang.
  • C. polyneura Hung T. Chang &
  • C. thea Link
  • C. theifera Griffith
  • C. waldeniae S. Y. Hu
  • Thea assamica J. W. Masters
  • Thea bohea L.
  • Thea cantonensis Loureiro
  • Thea chinensis Sims
  • Thea cochinchinensis Loureiro
  • Thea grandifolia Salisbury
  • Thea olearia Loureiro ex Gomes
  • Thea oleosa Loureiro
  • Thea parvifolia Salisbury (1796), not Hayata (1913)
  • Thea sinensis L.
  • Thea viridis L.
  • Theaphylla cantonensis (Loureiro) Rafinesque

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. It is of the genus Camellia (Chinese: 茶花; pinyin: Cháhuā, literally: "tea flower") of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. Common names include "tea plant", "tea shrub", and "tea tree" (not to be confused with Melaleuca alternifolia, the source of tea tree oil, or Leptospermum scoparium, the New Zealand teatree).

Two major varieties are grown: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis for Chinese teas, and Camellia sinensis var. assamica for Indian Assam teas.[2] White tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from one or the other, but are processed differently to attain varying levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from Camellia sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves.


  • Nomenclature and taxonomy 1
  • Cultivars 2
  • Description 3
  • Cultivation 4
    • Chinese teas 4.1
    • Indian teas 4.2
    • Pests and diseases 4.3
  • Health effects 5
  • See also 6
  • Primary green tea catechins 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Nomenclature and taxonomy

The name Camellia is taken from the

  • "Camellia sinensis".  
  • Camellia sinensis from Purdue University
  • The International Camellia Society
  • Plant Cultures: botany and history of the tea plant
  • Antibacterial Activity of Green Tea Extracts against Streptococcus anginosus group
  •, The effect of a component of tea (Camellia sinensis) on methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus.
  •, List of Chemicals in Camellia sinensis (Dr. Duke's Databases)

External links

  1. ^ a b c Min, Tianlu; Bartholomew, Bruce. "18. Theaceae". Flora of China 12. 
  2. ^ ITIS Standard Report Page Camellia Sinensis retrieved 2009-03-28.
  3. ^ Stafleu, FA; Cowan, RS (1976–88). Taxonomic literature: A selective guide to botanical publications and collections with dates, commentaries and types (2nd ed.). Utrecht: Bohn, Scheltema and Holkema. 
  4. ^ "Botanics", History of Tea, 10 August 2003, Georg Jeoseph Kamel, whose name in Latin was Camellus was missionary to the Philippines, died in Manilla in 1706. [...] Camellias were named in posthumous honor of George Joseph Kamel by Carolus Linnæus .
  5. ^ "Botanics", History of Tea, 10 August 2003, It is speculated that he never saw a camellia .
  6. ^ Golender, Leonid (10 August 2003), "Botanics", History of Tea, The first edition of Linnaeus's Species Plantarum published in 1753 suggested calling the tea plant Thea sinensis... 
  7. ^  .
  8. ^ a b "Identification of Japanese tea (Camellia sinensis) cultivars using SSR marker".  
  9. ^ a b c d e "Varietal differences in the adaptability of tea [Camellia sinensis] cultivars to light nitrogen application".  
  10. ^ "Camellia sinensis". Purdue. Retrieved 18 February 2008. 
  11. ^ "Tea", Gardening, Telegraph Online, 17 September 2005 .
  12. ^ a b The International Camellia Society (ICS), DE: Uniklinik Sårland .
  13. ^ Ming, TL (1992), Acta Botanica Yunnanica (in Chinese) 14 (2): 115–32  .
  14. ^ Wang L, Waltenberger B, Pferschy-Wenzig EM, Blunder M, Liu X, Malainer C, Blazevic T, Schwaiger S, Rollinger JM, Heiss EH, Schuster D, Kopp B, Bauer R, Stuppner H, Dirsch VM, Atanasov AG. Natural product agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ): a review. Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Jul 29. pii: S0006-2952(14)00424-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.07.018. PubMed PMID 25083916.
  15. ^ Murray, edited by Joseph E. Pizzorno, Jr., Michael T. (2012). Textbook of natural medicine (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. p. 628.  



Primary green tea catechins

See also

Tea may have some negative impacts on health, such as over-consumption of caffeine, and the presence of oxalates in tea.

Among other interesting bioactivities, (-)-catechin from C. sinensis was shown to act as agonist of PPARgamma, nuclear receptor that is current pharmacological target for the treatment of diabetes type 2.[14]

The leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and other medical systems to treat asthma (functioning as a bronchodilator), angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease.

Health effects

Tea leaves are eaten by some herbivores, like the caterpillars of the willow beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria), a geometer moth.

Pests and diseases

Seed-bearing fruit of Camelia sinensis
  • Assam comes from the northeastern section of the country. This heavily forested region is home to much wildlife, including the rhinoceros. Tea from here is rich and full-bodied. It was in Assam that the first tea estate was established, in 1837.
  • Darjeeling, from the cool and wet Darjeeling region, tucked in the foothills of the Himalayas. Tea plantations reach 2,200 metres. The tea is delicately flavoured, and considered to be one of the finest teas in the world. The Darjeeling plantations have 3 distinct harvests, termed 'flushes', and the tea produced from each flush has a unique flavour. First (spring) flush teas are light and aromatic, while the second (summer) flush produces tea with a bit more bite. The third, or autumn flush gives a tea that is lesser in quality.
  • Nilgiri, from a southern region of India almost as high as Darjeeling. Grown at elevations between 1,000 and 2,500 metres, Nilgiri teas are subtle and rather gentle, and are frequently blended with other, more robust teas.

Three main kinds of tea are produced in India:

Indian teas

C. sinensis var. waldenae was considered a different species, Camellia waldenae by SY Hu,[12] but it was later identified as a variety of C. sinensis.[13] This variety is commonly called Waldenae Camellia. It is seen on Sunset Peak and Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong. It is also distributed in Guangxi Province, China.[12]

The Chinese plant (sometimes called C. sinensis var. sinensis) is a small-leafed bush with multiple stems that reaches a height of some 3 meters. It is native to southeast China. The first tea plant to be discovered, recorded and used to produce tea three thousand years ago, it yields some of the most popular teas.

Chinese teas

Tea plants will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking. Two principal varieties are used, the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis sinensis) and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis assamica), used mainly for black tea.

Camellia sinensis is mainly cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates, in areas with at least 127 cm. (50 inches) of rainfall a year. Tea plants prefer a rich and moist growing location in full to part sun, and can be grown in hardiness zones 7 - 9. However, the clonal one is commercially cultivated from the equator to as far north as Cornwall on the UK mainland.[11] Many high quality teas are grown at high elevations, up to 1,500 meters (4,900 feet), as the plants grow more slowly and acquire more flavour.


The leaves are 4–15 cm (1.6–5.9 in) long and 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) broad. Fresh leaves contain about 4% caffeine, as well as related compounds including theobromine.[10] The young, light green leaves are preferably harvested for tea production; they have short white hairs on the underside. Older leaves are deeper green. Different leaf ages produce differing tea qualities, since their chemical compositions are different. Usually, the tip (bud) and the first two to three leaves are harvested for processing. This hand picking is repeated every one to two weeks.

Camellia sinensis plant, with cross-section of the flower (lower left) and seeds (lower right)

The seeds of Camellia sinensis and Camellia oleifera can be pressed to yield tea oil, a sweetish seasoning and cooking oil that should not be confused with tea tree oil, an essential oil that is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, and originates from the leaves of a different plant.

Camellia Sinensis is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is usually trimmed to below 2 m (6.6 ft) when cultivated for its leaves. It has a strong taproot. The flowers are yellow-white, 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.57 in) in diameter, with 7 to 8 petals.

Camellia sinensis is native to East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but it is today cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.


  • Benifuuki[8]
  • Fushun[9]
  • Kanayamidori[8]
  • Meiryoku[9]
  • Saemidori[9]
  • Okumidori[9]
  • Yabukita[9]

Cultivars of C. sinensis include:


Four varieties of Camellia sinensis are recognized.[1] Of these, C. sinensis var. sinensis and C. sinensis var. assamica (JW Masters) Kitamura are most commonly used for tea, and C. sinensis var. pubilimba Hung T. Chang and C. sinensis var. dehungensis (Hung T. Chang & BH Chen) TL Ming are sometimes used locally.[1]

Robert Sweet shifted all formerly Thea species to the Camellia genus in 1818.[7] The name sinensis means from China in Latin.

Carl Linnaeus chose his name in 1753 for the genus to honor Kamel's contributions to botany[4] (although Kamel did not discover or name this plant, or any Camellia,[5] and Linnaeus did not consider this plant a Camellia but a Thea).[6]

. Philippines lay brother, pharmacist, and missionary to the Jesuit-born Moravian (1661–1706), a SJ [3]

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