Camellia sinensis, Thea chinensis
|Camellia sinensis foliage|
|Native range of the Camellia sinensis.|
Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees in the flowering plant family Theaceae whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. 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 tea tree).
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, but are processed differently to attain varying levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from C. sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves.
tea plant (plural tea plants)
- The bush Camellia sinensis, the leaves of which are picked, dried and used to make the beverage tea.