Camellia taliensis

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Camellia taliensis 2309 rbgs11jan.jpg 2310 rbgs11jan.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Theaceae
Genus: Camellia
C. taliensis
Binomial name
Camellia taliensis
(W.W.Sm.) Melch.

Camellia taliensis (also Yunnan large leaf varietal tea, wild tea, 大理茶) is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea.

It is of the genus Camellia of flowering plants in the family Theaceae.

C. taliensis is an important wild relative to the cultivated tea plant Camellia sinensis. It also belongs to the same section Thea as C. sinensis.

It is an endangered species due to human caused fragmentation of the plant's natural habitat and from overpicking of the leaves for the tea market.[1]

Nomenclature and taxonomy[edit]


Camellia talensis has five locules per ovary while in comparison C. sinensis has three locules per ovary.

It grows primarily in the southwestern portion of Yunnan province in China and in neighboring areas in Thailand and northern Myanmar.

C. taliensis has larger leaves than C. sinensis var. sinensis closer to the size of C. sinensis var. assamica. And, in several chemical composition and morphological comparisons, C. taliensis is also closer to C. sinensis var. assamica than to C. sinensis var. sinensis. However, the closer similarity may also be due to human selection (which causes reduction in genetic diversity) as C. sinensis var. assamica is the tea variety traditionally cultivated in Yunnan.

Like C. sinensis, C. taliensis contains both theanine and caffeine.

C. talensis can be easily crossed with C. sinensis, and the resulting crossbred plants are intermediate between species both morphologically and chemically indicating true hybrids.


Camellia taliensis is locally used to make white tea, black tea, and pu'er tea.[2][3][4]

Yue Guang Bai (月光白 "Moonlight White") is a white tea made from the plant.

Yunnan pu-erh tea made from C. taliensis can command a much higher price than pu'er made from the more common C. sinensis.

See also[edit]


  • Chen, Jin, Pingsheng Wang, Yongmei Xia, Mei Xu & Shengji Pei. 2005. Genetic diversity and differentiation of Camellia sinensis L. (cultivated tea) and its wild relatives in Yunnan province of China, revealed by morphology, biochemistry and allozyme studies. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 52 (1), 41–52.
  • Liu, Yang, Shi-xiong Yang, Peng-zhang Ji & Li-zhi. 2012. Phylogeography of Camellia taliensis (Theaceae) inferred from chloroplast and nuclear DNA: Insights into evolutionary history and conservation. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12.
  • Takeda, Yoshiyuki. 1990. Cross compatibility of tea (Camellia sinensis) and its allied species in the genus Camellia. Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly, 24, 111–116.
  1. ^ Chen et al. 2005
  2. ^ "Laoshu Dianhong (Old Tree Yunnan)".
  3. ^ "Yunnan da Bai Silver Needles – Tea Trekker".
  4. ^ Liu et al. (2012)

External links[edit]