The tea shrub (Camellia sinensis) is blooming in the Temperate House of the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (late September 2013). Note that tea blooms in the fall — after its growing season is finished and before the plant goes dormant.

A flowering tea plant—Camellia sinensis

The tea plant (Camelia sinensis) — the source of tea leaves used to make the drink — is a camellia.  But not all camellias are tea.  Different parts of this plant are used to make tea, including the leaves, the leaf buds, and  the twigs. The leaves (picked at various times), leaf buds, and twigs are all used to make various drink types such as black tea, white tea, green tea, etc.

We also will have tea plant (shrub) in the new Medicinal Garden which will begin next year sometime in the former Exhibit Garden area outside the Conservatory.  Tea has been used to prevent dental caries(decay), and the antioxidants in tea are being studied in the prevention of cancer and for other medical uses.

Tea is not winter hardy in Michigan, so we’ll have to bring it inside before cold weather sets in.

Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the conservatory today!