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Scale bar 10mm. Copyright CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. Copyright CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. Copyright CSIRO
10th leaf stage. Copyright CSIRO
Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze
Kuntze, C.E.O. (1887) Act.Hort. Petrop. 10: 195. Type: ?.
Thea sinensis L., Species Plantarum: 515(1753), Type: China?.
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.
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.
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)