There are two main varieties of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The Chinese variety, Camellia sinensis sinensis, has a small leaf and is more tolerant of cold weather. The second variety, Camellia sinensis assamica, is native to the Assam region in India. It thrives in tropical areas and low elevation. The leaves are much larger than the Chinese variety. Interestingly, the tea plants grown in the Darjeeling region of India are the Chinese variety because of the high elevation and cooler temperatures.
Did you know that ALL types of tea from the six major categories (black, dark, oolong, yellow, green, & white) are made from the Camellia sinensis plant? The way the leaf is manipulated and processed determines the type of finished tea it becomes. There are literally thousands of teas that can be made from this one little plant!
Two leaves & bud, Camellia sinensis sinensis (Chinese variety). This is a small leaf cultivar.
Compare the Chinese variety to Camellia sinensis var. assamica (above), which has large, broad leaves. This plant is native to India.