A cup of tea - Photo by AnneCN

Tea is cultivated for its leaves and leaf buds, which are used to produce tea. It is a tropical evergreen shrub or small tree, but prefers the cooler tropical regions, usually at higher altitudes.

Depending on the way the leaves are processed, different types of tea can be produced.


   Camellia sinensis
   Tea plant
   Tea shrub
   Tea tree
   Planta del té
   Arbre à thé
   Thé vert
   Pianta del tè



Basic information and facts


Tea originates from East and Southeast Asia. The name ‘sinensis’ means ‘from China’.


Tea is cultivated worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas.

Annual, biennial, or perennial:

Tea is a perennial evergreen plant.


The leaves are 4 to 15 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide.

Climate and weather:

Tea is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates, but preferable in the cooler (i.e. higher) areas.In the tropics often around 1500 m altitude.


Tree can become a small tree but is usually trimmed to below 2 m. In plantations it is often grown as hedges that are waist height for easy plucking.


Tea is usually propagated by cuttings.


Tea is harvested by plucking young light green leaves and buds. The quality of teas depends on the age of leaves that are used. Usually, only the tip and the first two to three leaves are taken. Plucking is repeated frequently; weekly or every two weeks.


Tea leaves require some processing before they can be used to make tea. Processing involves different methods, which differ in the degree of oxidation of the leaves, drying methods, etc. Different types of processing can produce different types and tastes of tea.

Did you know that?

  • There are two commercially important tea varieties: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica. Two other varieties (pubilimba and dehungensis) are sometimes used locally.
  • Different types of tea, such as white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea and black tea are all made from leaves of Camellia sinensis. They differ in the way they are processed.
  • Earl Grey tea is a tea that has been flavoured by adding bergamot oil. Bergamot is a type of orange. The oil
    extracted from the fruit’s rind is added to the tea to give a special taste and aroma.

Crop categories

Medicinal plants
Tropical crops


A cup of tea - Photo by AnneCN

Harvested tea leaves

Tea leaf

Tea harvest in Sylhet, Bangladesh

Tea near Fang, Thailand

Tea plantation near Sylhet, Bangladesh

Tea plucking in Bangladesh

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