The Tea Plant
Thea Sinensis/
Thea Assamica
  The tea plant of the species Camellia is an evergreen bush; its closest relatives are still the camellias, as we know them today.

Alongside the many hybrids developed in the meantime, we can still distinguish two main species:

Camellia sinensis (Chinese tea plant)
Camellia assamica (Assam tea plant)

The true botanical origin is still a matter of dispute today – it is assumed that the mother plant came from the Indian region of Assam, from where it spread to China. The plant, which originally grew in the jungle, possibly fell victim to a parasite and thus became extinct in India (in the same way that the fungus Hemileia vastatrix wiped out the Sri Lankan coffee plantations in their entirety).

However, with a more than 5,000-year-old tradition, China is seen as the country in which tea originated – the earliest reference to a tea tax in China dates back to about 221 BC.

It was only in 1823 that some wild growing tea plants were rediscovered in Assam in northern India and subsequently cultivated.