The Tea Plant

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 4,900 ft. above sea level. While at these heights the plants grow more slowly, it is said they acquire a better flavor. Tea plants are propagated from seed, and cuttings of about 4 to 12 years are needed for a plant to bear seed. A tea plant will grow into a tree of up to 52 ft. if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are generally pruned to waist height for ease of plucking. Also, the short plants bear newer shoots more frequently which increase the quality of the tea. The buds and leaves that are picked from a mature plant are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season. Leaves that are slow in development tend to produce better-flavored teas.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to grow and harvest a tea plant, and then blend your own teas?

Japanese tea field.
Japanese tea field.
Leaves of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant.

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