In fact, The Classic of Tea recorded a tea tree about one meter in diameter in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). About the same size as the one found by Robert Bruce, but some 1100 years earlier.
In 1961, Chinese archeologists discovered in Yunnan Province a wild large tea tree which was 32.12 meters tall and about 1,700 years old. Its height and age both were world No.1 among camellia plants. It still remains the largest and oldest wild tea tree that has been found in the world.
The tea tree is of the species Camellia Sinensis. Camellia is a rather primitive plant species and the tea tree is a relatively primitive member of the genus Camellia. According to research, the tea plant evolved at least 60-70 million years ago. There are 23 genera and over 380 varieties of camellia plants in the world, of which, 15 genera and over 260 varieties are found in China.
China is the country which first discovered wild big tea trees and has most numerous wild large tea trees. Tea trees in China are normally found in Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Sichuan Province. As large and high arbors in these areas, the tea trees show typical primitive features, indicating that the southwestern area of China is the birthplace of Camellia plants, including tea.
Bada Wild Ancient Tea Tree
More than 2700 years old, found in 1961 in Bada Mountain, Menghai County, XichuanBanna. In addition, there are 80000 mu wild ancient tea trees scattered among the seven counties in Yunnan.
Banwai Transitional Ancient Tea Tree
More than 900 years old, found in 1991 in Banwai village, Lancang County. It was seen as the living fossil of the origin by the tea industry.
Nannuoshan Cultivated Ancient Tea Tree
More than 800 years old, found in 1953.