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Any non-sinensis Camellia used for tea?

July 20, 2010

Does anyone know if any of the camellias besides camellia sinensis are used for tea or food? Dumb question, probably...

Comments (16)

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    None of the other Camellias are used for tea, but your question isn't dumb.

    merrybookwyrm thanked rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
  • jeff_al

    camellia oleifera seeds (as well as c. sinensis seeds) are used to produce camellia oil or tea oil, an edible/multi-purpose oil. guess that would be a food.

    Here is a link that might be useful: tea oil camellia

    merrybookwyrm thanked jeff_al
  • luis_pr

    Sinensis evolved -in time- as the one to use for tea. While you can try to produce tea using leaves off the other varieties, the sinensis leaves' flavor would be great but the others would just not taste as good.

    merrybookwyrm thanked luis_pr
  • DionKar333

    Camellia Japonica can be used to make tea as well. The flavor is decent, but the major difference is the caffeine content. Japonica seems much more potent, even when processed as green tea.

    merrybookwyrm thanked DionKar333
  • jamesmaloy

    Hi Merrybookwyrm, I thought your question was an excellent one. Shows some minds can still think outside the box, which I for one find refreshing.
    My two cents worth. The genus Camellia is obviously not poisonous so why not be able to make tea from any of them.
    I love seeing the travel shows on P.B.S. when they are showing the camellia sinensis plantations just amazing like a corn field here in the U.S. acres upon acres of shrubs that hard working folks pick on a regular schedule. Happy to see your question and just as happy to see intelligent people answering.

    merrybookwyrm thanked jamesmaloy
  • Moccasin

    Good to hear I can try the camellia japonica for tea, which I will do with the new leaves.

    Also, I found the camellia sinensis for sale as a 4-inch potted plant at Logee's in Connecticut and am ordering a couple of them. I tried to grow it from seed, which has failed to sprout, and now will jump start my tea growing plantation with a pair of the plants from Logee's.

    They will be planted in Mobile AL, where camellias are evergreen and flourish year round. Instead of potting them, they will be planted in the garden.

    merrybookwyrm thanked Moccasin
  • lala_e

    I know it is a very old thread to revive, but I thought I'd pitch in since the OP did not report back here. This is one of the few posts that pops up on Google when searching for non c sinensis, camellia tea. I've made tea from my camellia japonica and it compares favorably with commercial tea. It has a surprisingly fragrant, fresh profile and definitely has body. I did not detect any bitterness, before and after adding a little honey. The tea is very soothing.

    It is a very simple process to make the tea. I used a similar process to the one on the link provided. I prefer to cut and then rub my leaves and buds much finer than the ones pictured. I've also dried the leaves in the microwave instead of the oven.

    It is a really delicious tea & I will try to make a green version too. Right now I'm attempting to make it in enough quantities to store, instead of just enough for a single pot or cup.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Making black tea from your camellia japonica

    merrybookwyrm thanked lala_e
  • SavannahNana

    Camellia sinensis is one of only a few Camellia species that contain caffeine. The more common species, Japonica and Sasanqua do not contain caffeine. I had a customer once who purchased Camellia sasanqua and tried to make tea from it, but wondered what he was doing wrong!

    merrybookwyrm thanked SavannahNana
  • green_sun

    Actually what you are claiming is patently false. There are a number of studies on the purine patterns of different Camellia species, and at least one has found quite high amounts of caffeine in Camellia japonica (>5% per weight in dry leaves; http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/ArticleFullRecord.jsp?cn=OOJJBO_2004_v12n3_183)
    So just go for it, while not all cultivars will be equally potent, it should be possible to find one which is just as good as green or black tea.
    I envy you guys who can easily grow Camellias outdoors, go for it! :-)

    merrybookwyrm thanked green_sun
  • merrybookwyrm

    Thank you, everyone. I'm sorry I hadn't seen any of your wonderful answers. Chalk it up to being unwell. I appreciate every one of them.

  • Moccasin

    Hope you are feeling better now, Merrybookwyrm!

    My c. sinensis plants are about 4 feet tall now, one of them bloomed and set seed-apples. My two c. sasanqua trees are in bloom as we speak, and a great many seedlings are growing beneath the one which always sets the seed-apples. Today when I walked back there, the fragrance was wonderful, and Gulf fritillary butterflies were fluttering around the sasanquas, which were graced by the butterfly's host plant, passiflora vines. I did not know camellias had fragrance, but SOMETHING is at work in my garden. Could it be that passiflora edula or p. incarnata have fragrance?

    merrybookwyrm thanked Moccasin
  • talencat

    Hello am looking for C.sinensis seed , anyone have some to spare . I would like to trade with other Camellia or veggie seeds or herb thanks,

    merrybookwyrm thanked talencat
  • Moccasin


    This blogger is in Australia. She has camellia japonicas and sasanquas, same as I grow here in Alabama. I also have 3 camellia sinensis that I bought from Logees. Camellias do not grow fast, so if you are buying a plant, get the largest one you can afford. They grow very well in containers.

    merrybookwyrm thanked Moccasin
  • Brad Edwards

    I tried from seed twice and didn't get either to germinate. I tried in the house, greenhouse, stratification, outdoors, etc. I am considering buying a couple online of all places. I really like this tread. I have about 30 10 foot tall camellias and have been trying to nail down varieties. I may take a small bag of each and do a trial sometimes because I am doing quite a few trials now already and well why not. Anybody know a way to measure caffeine levels? I have willow juice and if I find a good variety that is old I should be able to take cuttings.

    merrybookwyrm thanked Brad Edwards
  • talencat

    I tried propagate from seeds and got 7 seedlings before , racoon knock down all of them the root exposed all night ,in the morning i repotted but all din't not survive .

    merrybookwyrm thanked talencat
  • socalnolympia

    I've done some quick research, and it is possible to use some other species for tea, but they have very negligible levels of caffeine, and that's one of the major reasons people drank tea.

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