Tea is an evergreen bush of the Camellia genus. According to a Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nong (2737-2697 BC) accidentally discovered tea when the leaf of a wild-growing tea shrub fell into his drinking bowl filled with hot water. China (Yunnan) is considered the original home of the tea plant Camellia sinensis.
Camellia assamica is the second primordial tea plant. It was discovered in India (Assam) in 1823 by Scottish Major Robert Bruce. The plants are thus named after the regions they were originally discovered in.
Cross-breeds of both species exist in many variations. Known as hybrid plants, they are now widely used in tea cultivation.
While herbal and fruit teas are referred to as tea in everyday speech – and for the sake of simplicity, on this website as well – by definition they are not teas, as they do not contain any tea leaves. Rather, they are tea-like infusions.