Cha-no-ki – Tea tree – Camellia sinensis
Tea, the most loved and utilized plant in Camellia family has very small and indistinctive flower.
The home place is supposed to be southern part of China, but as it is cultivated since ancient, not clarified. In Japan, brought from the continent, also has been cultivated since ancient, it is often seen naturalized to be growing even in the forest. This was in a shrine grove.
Camellia family is unique and common group in East Asian warm temperate zone or in the East Asian tropics on high altitude warm temperate equivalent zone. And later, British, who adopted tea in their food habitat, and further utilized tea as cash crop, found its equivalent place in tropical highlands in their colonies out of tea’s home land such as in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, or far away in Kenya.
Green tea leaves from Camellia sinensis
Camellia family plants are mostly and typically evergreen, the leaves being fat with thick cuticle layer on upper surface. The thick cuticle layer is supposed to be adoption to low temperature in winter or in the night, and it gives high luminescence to the leaves. Seeds are rich in high quality oil. Both of Tea and Camellia (Tsubaki, Camellia japonica) are utilized for oil production.
Green Tea: Camellia sinensis is the source of all green teas, and the differences in taste of the different types of teas are the results of different processing techniques, and differences in individual plants. Green teas are made by allowing the leaves to wither in hot air, then pan frying or placing in an oven to halt the fermentation process. Oolong teas are wilted in the sun, then bruised and allowed to partially ferment, until the leaf edges turn slightly red. Black teas are fermented in humid, cool rooms until the entire leaf is darkened. Studies suggest that the Green Teas are the most beneficial for health because the leaves are not allowed to ferment at all, preserving the antioxidant properties of the fresh leaf.Camellia sinensis is the botanical name for a magical plant, the leaves and buds of which provide us with the most delicious beverage on earth: tea.
Tsubaki, Camellia japonica
In China as tea is so deeply rooted, common Camellia, which has bigger and beautiful flowers were named after tea, which means “mountain or wild tea”, whereas in Japan, tea and common big flowered Camellia are recognized under different context, called Tsubaki, of which character, meaning completely different plant in China.