Tea Flower (Camellia sinensis)


Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze 1887, with its stunning, white tea flower, is a tropical plant depending on the tea shrub family (Theaceae) and the genus Camellia. In the year 1753 Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), the father of taxonomy, named the genus in honour to Rev. Georg Kamel (1661–1706), a Czech Jesuit missionary, botanist and pharmacist to the Philippines, while he named the plant Thea sinensis L. 1753, which is the basionym for the plant. In 1818 the English botanist Robert Sweet shifted all plants formerly classified as Thea species to the genus Camellia.

1822 the German botanist and naturalist Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link (1767 - 1851) named the plant Camellia thea and finally in 1887 Otto Carl Ernst Kuntze (1843 - 1907) classified the tropical plant as Camellia sinensis, which is effective until today. The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is native to China and South and South-East Asia, but nowadays cultivated in many tropical and subtrocial countries around the globe. For me as a regular tea drinker and tea lover, it should need a few decades to see my first tea flower in an ornamental tea garden in Wawee, North Thailand. It`s not that easy to see tea flowers, as mostly young flower buds are removed fron tea shrubs to improve the quality of the leaves.

Tea Flower (Camellia sinensis)
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Image: Tea Flower (Camellia sinensis)

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