People are always asking me for the same question – “Do you sell ‘green’ tea plants?”. I have to snicker a little at the question, then I have to stop myself to realize that perhaps not everyone knows that all tea plants are green!! Comical, but not the intended question, I’m sure. I guess what most people are thinking is that green tea comes from a ‘green’ tea plant and black tea comes from a ‘black’ tea plant. All true tea, regardless of type, comes from one species – Camellia sinensis. But the question of Green vs black, does still have some merit. To explain….
There are actually two types or classes of Camellia sinensis, that are traditionally related to specific types of tea.
Camellia sinensis var. sinensis is more known for producing smaller leaves and is commonly known as Chinese Type Tea. Chinese type tea is commonly bushy and maintained for short growing and harvesting. It is used for all types of tea, green, black, oolong, etc.
Camellia sinensis var. assamica, is known for very large leaves and is often seen in tea producing countries as large growing trees as well as smaller bush forms. It is commonly associated with high quality black teas, but can produce other teas as well.
Within each of these types, you will find many varieties of tea – some with variable characteristics in growth habits, growth rates, flower production and leaf characteristics relating to the parent or ancestor of. They are both classified as Camellia sinensis, but are different types.
So with that said, to summarize, there may be some plants that may be better suited for Green Tea or Black Tea, but there is not an actual “green” or “black” tea plant.
I have the best job in the world…I get to walk out of my back door and across the yard to a greenhouse and nursery full of Camellias and do what I love every day. Sometimes, when it’s very hot or very cold or when problems arise I do question my career path, but I always come back to the same place….I’m where I’m supposed to be!