When most folks think of tea plants, they think of waist-high little bushes. Farmers do this on purpose, of course, pruning the plants so they stay at optimal plucking height. But is not obvious, however, is just how big tea left to grow in the wild can get – and how old.
In the forests of the Yunnan province of China – known as “the Ancient Land of Tea” – tea has been naturally growing wild for longer than there has been record. In fact, these “wild teas,” as they are called, still grow in Yunnan to this day, with some as tall as trees – up to 30 feet in the air! And even more astonishing, some of these tea trees are not just years old, or centuries old, but millennia old, with some as old as 3,200 years and having a trunk about 6 ft across! That makes the chest-high, 4-year-old tea plant that I have been growing in my back yard, which I have named “The-adore,” pretty pathetic!
These trees, being so big and impractical, are not very suitable for processing into a drinkable product – that is left to the more approachable, suited-to-humankind tea plants found on tea plantations.
It all kind of reminds me of the Titans, who were the forebears to the Greek gods. Ancient myth says that the Titans were cast out by the Greek gods, who just so happened to be much more human-like in their personalities and physicality, forcing them to live in the deep abyss of Tartarus.
Hopefully these majestic wild tea trees can live in peace for thousands of more years!