Uses

Edible uses

Unknown part

Leaves

Dried, Fermented as a Flavoring
Cooked, Boiled as a Vegetable
Dried, Fermented as a Tea, Infusion

Seed

Oil

Material uses

An essential oil is distilled from the fermented and dried leaves[2]. It is used in perfumery and in commercial food flavouring[2].

A non-drying oil is obtained from the seeds. Refined teaseed oil, made by removing the free fatty acids with caustic soda, then bleaching the oil with Fuller's earth and a sprinkling of bone black, makes an oil suitable for use in manufacture of sanctuary or signal oil for burning purposes, and in all respects is considered a favourable substitute for rapeseed, olive, or lard oils. The oil is different from cottonseed, corn, or sesame oils in that it is a non-drying oil and is not subject to oxidation changes, thus making it very suitable for use in the textile industry; it remains liquid below -18deg.C[1]. A grey dye is obtained from the pink or red petals[5]. The leaves contain 13 - 18% tannin[6]. The leaves also contain quercetin, a dyestuff that, when found in other plants, is much used as a dye[6]. The quantity of quercetin is not given[K].

Wood - moderately hard, close and even grained. It is very good for walking sticks[7].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The tea plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[8]. Modern research has shown that there are many health benefits to drinking tea, including its ability to protect the drinker from certain heart diseases. It has also been shown that drinking tea can protect the teeth from decay[9], because of the fluoride naturally occurring in the tea[K]. However, the tea also contains some tannin, which is suspected of being carcinogenic[1].

The leaves are cardiotonic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant and astringent[10][11][12][8][13][1]. They exert a decided influence over the nervous system, giving a feeling of comfort and exhilaration, but also producing an unnatural wakefulness when taken in large doses[10]. They are used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis and gastro-enteritis[8][2]. Tea is reportedly effective in clinical treatment of amoebic dysentery, bacterial dysentery, gastro-enteritis, and hepatitis. It has also been reported to have antiatherosclerotic effects and vitamin P activity[1]. Excessive use, however, can lead to dizziness, constipation, constipation, indigestion, palpitations and insomnia[2]. Externally, they are used as a poultice or wash to treat cuts, burns, bruises, insect bites, ophthalmia, swellings etc[8][2][14]. Only the very young leaves and leaf buds are used, these can be harvested throughout the growing season from plants over three years old and are dried for later use[2].

Teabags have been poulticed onto baggy or tired eyes, compressed onto headache, or used to bathe sunburn[1].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[15]. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and the hard covering around the micropyle should be filed down to leave a thin covering[16][15][17]. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 23°c[17]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall and give them some protection from winter cold for their first year or three outdoors[K]. Seedlings take 4 - 12 years before they start to produce seed[1].

There are approximately 500 seeds per kilo[1]. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, August/September in a shaded frame. High percentage but slow[16]. Cuttings of firm wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, end of June in a frame[18][16]. Keep in a cool greenhouse for the first year[18].

Leaf-bud cuttings, July/August in a frame.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Camellia sinensis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a woodland soil but thrives in a warm open well-drained loam if leafmould is added[19][18][20]. A calcifuge plant, preferring a pH between 5 and 7[18][20]. Prefers the partial shade of a light woodland or a woodland clearing[21][20]. Forms grown in this country are slow-growing[22]. Tea is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 70 to 310cm, an average annual temperature range of 14 to 27°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 7.3[1].

This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[20]. It prefers a wet summer and a cool but not very frosty dry winter[20]. The fragrant flowers are very attractive to insects, particularly moths[22]. Plants are not very self-compatible, self-fertilized flowers produce few seeds and these are of low viability[20]. A very ornamental plant[19], it is widely cultivated in tropical and warm temperate areas for its leaves which are used to make China tea[19]. There are many named varieties[4] and new hardier forms are being produced in China for growing in colder areas of the country[23]. The Chinese form, known as 'Hsüeh-ch'a', is said to grow in areas within the snow limit on the mountains of Lingchiangfu in Yunnan province[24].

The sub-species C. sinensis assamica. (Mast.)Kitam. is a larger plant, growing up to 17 metres tall. It is a more tropical form of the species, is intolerant of frost and does not succeed outdoors in Britain[18][23].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Camellia sinensis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Camellia sinensis.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Camellia sinensis
Genus
Camellia
Family
Theaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
8
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
Shade
partial shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    4 x 2.5
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.001.011.021.031.041.051.061.071.081.091.101.111.121.131.141.151.161.171.18 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (32202/01/01)
    2. ? 2.002.012.022.032.042.052.062.072.082.092.102.112.122.13 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (32202/01/01)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (32202/01/01)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (32202/01/01)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (32202/01/01)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins The Forestal Land, Timber and Railways Co. Ltd. (32202/01/01)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Gupta. B. L. Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur. Forest Research Institute Press (32202/01/01)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (32202/01/01)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (32202/01/01)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (32202/01/01)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    12. ? 12.012.1 Emboden. W. Narcotic Plants Studio Vista ISBN 0-289-70864-8 (32202/01/01)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (32202/01/01)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (32202/01/01)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (32202/01/01)
    16. ? 16.016.116.2 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (32202/01/01)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 3. Thompson and Morgan. (32202/01/01)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.318.418.5 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (32202/01/01)
    19. ? 19.019.119.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (32202/01/01)
    20. ? 20.020.120.220.320.420.520.6 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
    21. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (32202/01/01)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (32202/01/01)
    23. ? 23.023.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2 Pan Books, London. ISBN 0-330-37376-5 (32202/01/01)
    24. ? Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()



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