Tea Flowers...Finally
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 10:29AM
[chuck] in Camellia sinensis, Other, tea

So, I got these three tea (Camellia sinensis L. Kuntz.) seeds from my friend Sebastian Beckwith.  I planted them in a pot and faithfully kept them moist - for several months. It seemed like nothing was happening, and then, one day, a little shoot poked its head up out of the soil. I carefully re-potted the seedling and put it out in the backyard to get some sun. The squirrels dug it up and I later found it, out of the pot and with the roots exposed, laying out on the ground. 

I carefully picked it up and re-potted it and moved it to the front porch where it would still get lots of sun. The cat knocked it over trying to squeeze itself into the window.

For the third time, I carefully re-potted my battered little tea plant and moved it to a protected spot inside the house where it has continued to slowly grow - in spite of perioidic cat nibbles - for two years.

This morning, the flower bud that I had been observing for several weeks finally opened (shown above).  I am ecstatic.  A bit of germplasm from a tea garden in Yunnan, China has opted to reproduce itself in the stairwell of my house. And there are eight other floral buds waiting to open.  [NOTE: Tea is apparently self-incompatible, so I doubt I will get any seed]. 

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