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Camellia sinensis



Botanical Name

Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze

Kuntze, C.E.O. (1887) Act.Hort. Petrop. 10: 195. Type: ?.


Thea sinensis L., Species Plantarum: 515(1753), Type: China?.

Common name

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.


Capsules usually 3-lobed and broader than long with one seed in each lobe, calyx persistent at the base. Seeds about 10-15 x 10-12 mm.


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.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from China now naturalized in places in NEQ. Altitudinal range not known with certainty but most locations to date have been close to sea level but this will almost certainly be extended to about 700 m. Grows on old farmland and in disturbed areas in lowland rain forest.

Natural History

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)


RFK Code