Tea - a plant that does not need any introduction. Drink, which we call a "tea", each of us uses every day, often several times.
Varieties of tea.
In botanically tea belongs to the family of the same name tea (Theaceae), but on the tribal affiliation of this plant scientists are different opinions. Most biologists, taxonomists distinguish it as a separate genus tea (Thea), and complete its Latin name, in this case - Thea sinensis. Some biologists believe that tea is one of the species of the genus Camellia, and then its name - Camellia sinensis.
Cultural homeland of tea is considered the mountainous regions of India and China, as well as northern Vietnam. Wild ancestors of modern varieties of tea growing in the humid subtropical and tropical forests (can grow to a height of 10 m). Young blooming tea leaves are covered with silver fuzz that in Chinese - "buy-ho" (hence comes the name - "baikhovi tea" or "tea made from young leaves").
Several distinct varieties of Chinese tea:
- Boheya tea (Thea sinensis var. Bohea) - a small shrub with small spurs. Grown in Japan, Korea and eastern China.
- Green tea (Thea sinensis var. Viridis); in this case we are talking about the color of the leaves, and not derived from them drink. It is a small shrub with bright green leaves. Grown in the same areas as the previous subspecies.
- Assam tea (Thea sinensis var. Assamica) - a large shrub or small tree with large leaves. Grown in southern China and eastern India, Indochina, limited - in Georgia. Is found in the wild in the Indian state of Assam.
- Cantonese tea (Thea sinensis var.cantonensis) - small shrub with much shorter branches and small leaves.
- Large leaf tea (Thea sinensis var.macrophylla) - shrub with very large leaves. Drink from a very bitter and is not suitable for drinking. This subtype used in the hybridization with other species.
In the culture is rarely used any certain subspecies; usually teas represent a double and triple hybrids between the subspecies.
Dissemination of tea.
History of cultivation of Chinese tea leaves in the distant past. In China, tea was cultivated for 3000 years ago, with the beginning it was used as a medicinal plant. In the XV-XVII centuries tea to Europe for the first time brought the Portuguese, who initially also used it as a medicinal plant. And only from the XVIII century tea became a common drink.
In Russia tea fell for the first time in 1638; merchants brought him by caravan through Mongolia as a gift to his grandfather Peter I. After this long time tea and fidgeted in Russia, but very popular in the beginning did not use. But gradually the tea began to win recognition. For the first time in the Russian tea was planted in the Nikita Botanical Gardens in 1814. In Western Transcaucasia tea were introduced into 1846, and the first tea plantation was founded (in the 60s of the XIX century) near Ozurgeti.
Before the First World War the area of â€‹â€‹tea plantations in Russia was only 182 hectares. Ignorance Machinery tea, an unfortunate choice of varieties and fermentation technology have led to the fact that for a long time, the product obtained was of poor quality. The military department has purchased this product for the soldiers, and so it was called "soldier's tea."
Widespread in our country tea bush obliged founder Batumi Botanical Garden, scientist Krasnov. Of his expeditions to Japan and China, he brought the seeds and seedlings of rare plants, including the most promising varieties of tea.
In Soviet times, the area of â€‹â€‹tea plantations amounted to about 80 thousand hectares., And the Soviet Union was one of the largest producers of tea. In the Krasnodar Territory in Tuapse District, are the northernmost in the world tea plantation: it grows by 44 grudusov north, at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level. There are a lot of precipitation (fall evenly throughout the year), acidic soil (they like tea), but sometimes extreme cold (down to -30 degrees).
Generally tea bush can withstand temperatures down to -14 degrees, but it is well hibernates under a layer of snow. Therefore, the plant makes the fact that in these areas falls in the winter a lot of snow (sometimes up to three meters). On this plantation there is only one grade of "Keemun" China's selection, which proved better than others adapted to this climate.
During the existence of a tea plantation (about 40 years) bushes strongly obmÑ‘rzli only once - in the winter of 1997-1998 yy, when 30-degree frost hit with snow cover of 20 cm. Though tea plant originates from subtropical and tropical mountain forests, but it seems to me that fans of rare plants can try to grow it in the open field, not only on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, but also in the south of our country.
The benefits of tea.
The leaves of the tea bush contain about 260 different compounds. It is entered by in our culture in the open ground only plant that contains caffeine in the leaves. Also in the tea leaves contain essential oils, tannins, including tannins, catechins; is flavonoids, proteins, fats, sugars, cellulose, organic acids, alkaloids, including theobromine, theophylline, a purine base; a large group of minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, fluorine, iodine, copper, gold; complex vitamins: B1, B2, PP, C, carotene, nucleotides, nucleoproteins.
Tea as a remedy used for gastro-intestinal diseases, diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract. Drinking tea as a drink promotes better digestion, stimulates the secretion of gastric juice.
As home medications tea is used as a tonic for exhaustion, mental and physical fatigue, headache, loss of cardiac activity and poisoning, causing depression of the central nervous system (including - alcohol, strontium, drugs). Tea is useful in acute and chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, which is associated with the action of alkaloids of tea - they dilate blood vessels in the brain, the heart, stimulates the heart muscle.
Green tea is drunk for colds, it is effective as a diaphoretic and stimulant of the respiratory activity. It is useful to use tea as a means sosudoukreplyayuschie with increased vascular permeability and fragility.
Juice Fresh tea leaves or dried tea powder used in the treatment of burns, including solar; strong tea washed eyes in inflammatory processes. Infusion of green tea lowers blood pressure in the early stages of hypertension, reduces blood cholesterol, improves the health of patients with atherosclerosis; has antiradiation effect of reducing the harmful effects of radioactive substances on the body.
Growing, harvesting, fermenting tea.
Tea bush is grown in many tropical and subtropical countries, but the best for its growth are considered areas with a uniform and adequate moisture throughout the year, acidic soils and low summer temperatures (not higher than 25-30 degrees). In the tropical regions of South India for shading tea bushes are planted in plantations tall trees.
During his studies at Moscow University, I lived in a dorm with a student from Sri Lanka. He told me that in his country considered the best tea is grown at an altitude of 1800-2200 m above sea level; this whole tea is exported. In tropical valleys at high temperatures increases the length of the growing season and time of collection of tea leaves, but reduces its aromaticity and quality.
In the Krasnodar region, besides the already mentioned the tea plantation in Tuapse region, there is a plantation in Sochi in Sec. Dagomis and n. Mamedov gap. In Sec. Mamedov slot works tea museum where you can learn the history of tea cultivation in this country, look at the tea plantation in teahouses to taste a variety of teas.
In the context of the Black Sea coast picking tea leaves start with a 4-year life of the plant and is held annually in late April-early May until September. In tropical countries, with particularly favorable conditions of growth of bushes, picking tea leaves begin to 1.5-2 years after planting. In the tropics of Southeast Asia gathering leaves lasts for 3-4 months longer than in the subtropics.
Harvest of dry tea leaves varies from 1.5 to 4.5 t / ha. The highest quality product is obtained from the leaves collected manually. Created chaesborochnye machine, allowing to increase productivity by 30 times, but the product quality is lowered.
With tea bushes collected young shoot tips with 2-3 leaves (so-called "Flash"), subjected to their processing (fermentation) on special technologies and the dry tea. Depending on the technology used to give green or black tea. Considered the most valuable green tea, because it saved the most organic matter.
Black tea began to develop to speed up production of commercial products and fast delivery to market. In the production of black tea leaves collected are dried at a higher temperature and therefore some organic substances are lost. But black tea is best stored for a longer time than the green.
Amateur gardeners who grow tea at their sites, use an original method of fermentation of the tea leaves in the home. Freshly harvested leaves were placed in plastic bags and then into a freezer domestic refrigerator (temperature - 10: -15gradusov frost) for 2-3 days. Then the tea leaves is spread and dried at room temperature. The resulting product appearance is a cross between black and green tea; it is very fragrant and pleasant to taste.
Reproduction of tea.
Tea can be propagated by seed or vegetatively - cuttings, layering. Seed propagation of tea used for breeding purposes, and varietal plants are propagated only vegetatively. In our conditions, tea seeds are best sown before winter once a permanent place at a depth of 3-4 cm. As already mentioned, this plant prefers acidic soil (pH optimum acidity 4-5). When growing tea bushes I use wood trash from the well decayed trunks of chestnut seed.
Most of the seedlings appear next spring, but some seeds may come up and a year later. Tea seedlings grow slowly, especially in the first 1-2 years. At this time I do not advise you to carry out any dressings to avoid burns the root system of a young plant. If frost is expected, dangerous for plants (below -14 Â° C), the tea bushes need to cover up from the cold with burlap or straw. However, this recommendation I give general considerations - we have no such dangerous for the winter cold tea.
Beginning with the third year of life can be carried out feeding of tea bushes. I only use mineral fertilizers - urea, ammonium phosphate, NPK - in the form of a dilute aqueous solution (2-3 tablespoons per 10 liters of water). Really do not advise to use for fertilizing wood ash - it is highly alkaline and also burns the roots can cause binding in the soil of some trace elements and make them unavailable to plants. If the landing site was originally fertile soil of tea, the first 5-6 years of plant nutrition may be waived.
Flowering tea bushes in our environment begins with 3-5 years of age. Flowers in tea small (about 2 cm in diameter); they appear on the plants since the end of November. In the absence of frost bloom tea continues uninterrupted throughout the winter; the last flowers wither in mid-March. The flowers have fallen under cold die, but when you return the heat bloom tea resumes. The flowers are pollinated by bees good tea; a year later the seeds ripen.
The fruit tea - dry capsule with 2-3 seeds. Viable seeds can be obtained only in the subtropical zone, where the winters are mild and short-lived; in the temperate climate flowers and buds of tea in the winter freeze. Cuttings of tea is carried out in July and in December and January. Winter cuttings in our conditions is preferable, because the summer when temperatures are too high tea cuttings can dry, despite the abundant watering.
Cuttings are cut from the middle of the well-formed shoots of tea. First, just cut from the bush cuttings with a sharp knife and then cut before planting update the escape under water and immediately plant a sapling in soil, well-watered; lamina area is reduced by one third. The less air gets into the plant tissue at the vase life of shoots, the higher the probability of successful rooting. The use of stimulants should increase the percentage of rooting rooting tea (but I do not have specific data on this subject, because I have not tried to use them for tea).
Planted cuttings of tea should be to cover the film to reduce evaporation. Outdoors, their rooting occurs throughout the year. But in the literature there is evidence that at 20 degrees, this period is reduced to two months. Successful rooting cuttings of tea indicates the beginning of the growth of young shoots.
Tea can be grown indoors, only in the winter to bloom it is necessary to provide low (not above 15 Â° C) temperature.