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Tree Description: Tea is an evergreen shrub or small tree. The China type tea is dwarf, with small, dark green, narrow, serrated leaves. The Assam type tea is a larger plant, with green, less serrated leaves.
Scientific Name: Camellia sinensis
Distribution/History: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis has been cultivated since ancient times in China and Japan and was first exported to Russia. Europeans first encountered tea when traders first reached China, and eventually tea became popular in Europe.
Importance: Tea is used as a hot and cold beverage. Tea contains caffeine, potassium, and a small amount of theobromine. Tea is grown in 45 countries on more than 2.5 million acres worldwide and is worth in excess of $5 billion to the world’s economy annually.