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aturalized Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Tea • Hindi: चाय Chaay • Manipuri: ꯆꯥ Cha • Tamil: தேய் Tey • Malayalam: Tey • Telugu: Teyaku • Kannada: ತೇ Tea, ಚಹ Chaha, ಚಹಾ Chahaa, ಚಾ Chaa • Bengali: চা Cha • Urdu: چاے Chaay • Assamese: চা Cha • Sanskrit: Syamaparni • Nepali: चिया Chiyaa • Mizo: Thingpui
Botanical name: Camellia sinensis    Family: Theaceae (Tea family)

Tea plant is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is usually trimmed to below 2 m when cultivated for its leaves. It has a strong taproot. The flowers are yellow-white, 2.5–4 cm in diameter, with 7 to 8 petals. The seeds of tea plant can be pressed to yield tea oil, a sweetish seasoning and cooking oil. The leaves are 4–15 cm long and 2–5 cm broad. Fresh leaves contain about 4% caffeine. The young, light green leaves are preferably harvested for tea production; they have short white hairs on the underside. Older leaves are deeper green. Different leaf ages produce differing tea qualities, since their chemical compositions are different. Usually, the tip (bud) and the first two to three leaves are harvested for processing. This hand picking is repeated every one to two weeks. Tea plant is native to mainland South and Southeast Asia, but is today cultivated across the world, in tropical and subtropical regions.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in cultivation.

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