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Leaves and Flowers. Copyright CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. Copyright CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. Copyright CSIRO
10th leaf stage. Copyright CSIRO
Scientific NameCamellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze
Kuntze, C.E.O. (1887) Act.Hort. Petrop. 10: 195.
Chinese Tea; Tea; Common Tea; Tea Bush; Japanese Tea
Occasionally grows into a small tree but usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 2-4 m tall.
Leaf blades about 10 x 3.5 cm, margin toothed from the base to the apex with about 30-40 teeth on each side of the midrib. Lateral veins form loops well inside the blade margin. Twigs, petioles and leaves glabrous. Petiole grooved on the upper surface.
Flowers pleasantly perfumed. Calyx lobes dimorphic, outer three, about 4 mm long, inner three, about 3 mm long. Petals dimorphic, inner three or four, about 17-18 mm long, outer three, about 10-14 mm long. Ovary longitudinally ribbed, densely clothed in straight, white, appressed hairs, ovules about 4-6 per locule.
Cataphylls (4 or 5) produced before the first pair of true leaves. First pair of true leaves with toothed margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade with about 40 teeth on each side. Seed germination time 46 to 776 days.
Distribution and Ecology
An introduced species originally from China now naturalised in places in NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to about 700 m. Grows on old farmland and in disturbed areas in lowland and mountain rain forest.
Natural History & Notes
Large areas of this shrub or small tree are cultivated in Australia and overseas for the production of tea.
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
SynonymsThea sinensis L., Species Plantarum : 515(1753), Type: China?.
CC-BY Australian Tropical Herbarium unless otherwise indicated in the images.