Tea is a product of the processed leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis, or “Tea Camellia”. The plant is a woody, evergreen shrub that can grow up to 25′ tall if left unpruned. Although Tea camellias are indigenous to Southeast Asia, they are grown for production in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including Japan, New Zealand, Africa, and even right here in the USA! The largest tea plantation in the US (Charleston Tea Plantation) is located on Wadmalw Island in South Carolina.
Young leaves are harvested during the growing season and then processed to make each kind of tea (white, green, oolong, black, etc.). The highest quality pick includes the new terminal leaf bud and the next two proximal leaves.
Below is a flower from one of our Tea Camellias, which blooms in the Southeastern US in Late Summer/early Autumn. Isn’t is gorgeous?!
Each pollinated flower has the potential to become a pod containing one to three seeds that germinate readily in the springtime.