Camellia for Foliage, Flowers, Fruit & Tea

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Tea is derived from the Camellia plant. Tea is, after water, the most widely consumed beverage in the world. The British drink 4.5 cups a day per head and, in this respect, are second only to the Irish. Yet all tea is grown abroad and has to be imported into this country.

Tea is the oldest major world soft commodity with a production of 3,000,000 tonnes p.a.

The Camellia, a genus in the Theaceae family, is best known in the UK as a popular garden shrub. It was originally introduced as an exotic hothouse plant but is now proving hardy throughout much of the UK and Europe.

It grows particularly well in Cornwall and I wanted to see what further opportunities there were for development beyond that of a plant in private gardens.


The main objective was to suggest developments for Camellia-based industries with UK growers in mind.

1) Is it possible, both technically and economically, to grow tea in the UK?

2) Can oil be produced in the UK?

3) Is further development of the foliage market possible?

4) Can the volume of camellia sales as garden plants be increased?

At the moment approximately 10 times the volume of camellia plants, foliage and flowers are imported than exported from the UK.

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