The Tea Plant Essay

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The Tea Plant The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is one of about 80 species of East Asian evergreen shrubs and trees that belong to the tea family, or Theaceae. Tea reaches a height of 9 meters but is kept pruned to a low, mounded shrub in cultivation. The foliage is emerald green, while the flowers are fragrant, yellow-centered, white and about 4 centimeters wide. History Tea plant cultivation began about 4,000 years ago in its native country, China. The Japanese did not discover the plant until the 8th century A.D., and cultivation was established by the 13th century. The Europeans were finally introduced to the plant during the 17th century. And, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tea growing had spread to Russian…show more content…
Before World War II, Americans primarily drank green (unfermented) and oolong (semi -fermented) teas. The colonists dumped green tea into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party. Black (fermented) tea did not become popular until after the war (Hansen, 1998), and today it is the most popular type in the U.S. Cultivation The tea plant blooms in early fall. It is very hardy and can survive temperatures as low as 0 degrees F, but cool seasons that differ by 20 degrees F from the warm season will cause the growth rate of the plant to decrease and a dormant period will set in. Camellias thrive in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils and prefer partial shade. A suitable climate has a minimum annual rainfall of 45-50 inches. During the growing season, the plant is kept pruned to a short bush because only the young, tender leaves and buds are wanted for commercial processing into marketable tea. Camellias can be propagated from softwood cuttings rooted under mist or from seeds. Seed propagation requires no pretreatment, and grafting selected scion wood onto large root stock speeds early growth and promotes early flowering of young plants. As with all crop plants, the tea plant is subject to a host of pests and diseases. At least 150 different insect species and 380 fungus diseases attack camellia (Eden, 1976). However, blight control has become highly developed and 40 different pesticides exist. As with all pesticides, some do have
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