September 30, 2019

Camellia Sinensis Flower

Image: Camellia sinensis flower by Reji Jacob

I am not a trained botanist but I am very interested in botany. I spend a lot of time looking at the flowers of trees. As a tea drinker based in the northeastern U.S., and one who hasn't traveled to see tea gardens or farms, I have not seen the Camellia sinensis flower IRL. Thankfully, I can access images of the flower on the internet.

Image: Various types of tea leaves by Damitr

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant. The plant is categorized as a shrub or small tree, though it's listed as a shrub in the Kew database. All true tea is produced from the leaves of C. sinensis, its varieties and cultivars.

Image: Camellis sinensis tea blossom in Hangzhou by Kuebi

Image: Camellia sinensis fruit on Maui by Forest and Kim Starr

The flower of the tea plant, not to be confused with blooming teas, is a perfect flower having both stamen (male reproductive parts) and pistil (female reproductive part).  The tea flower has many stamens surrounding a single pistil. If fertilization is successful, the ovary will develop into a fruit. The tea fruit is a capsule, botanically, meaning it is dry, not fleshy, and opens along a seam to release its seed(s).

The processed leaves of Camellia sinensis is one way that humans can consume this plant. I found several references to tea seed oil, made by cold pressing the seeds of species within the Camellia genus including C. sinensis. Are you familiar with tea seed oil? While you can't eat the flowers, they are scented. I would enjoy cut flowers of C. sinensis. I might try my hand at growing a tea plant for the flowers!

4 comments :

  1. The flowers look beautiful. I've once tried a tea made with the camellia sinensis flower buds - that was pretty interesting (I felt a pepper note for some reason)! If you grow the plant, perhaps that's something you can consider trying as well

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    1. Notes on Tea10/2/19, 9:24 AM

      Eustacia, thank you for your comment. If I'm successful, I will try the C. sinensis flower tisane!

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  2. I actually found tea seed oil at Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company a few years ago. It was really tasted me and reminded me a bit of olive oil. I don't enjoy most tisanes but tea flowers are make a tasty brew. I really enjoy the black tea that Amba Estate blends them with.

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    Replies
    1. Notes on Tea11/2/19, 8:32 PM

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for letting me know about tea seed oil at Sullivan Street Tea. I'll check to see if they still carry the oil. I'll also check out Amba Estate.

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