Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze var. bohea

Half-hardy, slow-growing shrub with ovate, pointed leaves and small, nodding white flowers in spring.  The variety bohea has darker green leaves and usually solitary flowers.  [RHSD, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘According to our friend and coadjutor Mr. Ker (late Gawler) Thea and Camellia cannot be kept apart, but must be united into one genus; and our own observations go to confirm this idea, but we are unwilling to change the generic name until all the allied plants shall have been more accurately examined.’  [BM t.998/1807].  ‘The two species of Tea-trees, for such, in our humble opinion they undoubtedly are, have been by some persons, (especially such as have only had an opportunity of seeing dried specimens,) considered the same.’  [LBC nos.226 and 227/1818].  According to Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet, Thea bohea was introduced to Britain in 1780 and Thea viridis, the ‘Green-tea tree’, in 1768.  Hilliers’ gives the earlier date of 1740 for Camellia sinensis, the tea bush of commerce.  Curtis’s Botanical Magazine provides a potted history of teas and tea drinking.  [BM t.3148/1832].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.962/1843].  Probably introduced by Macarthur to determine its possibilities as a commercial crop in the colony.


Published Jul 05, 2009 - 03:47 PM | Last updated Jul 31, 2010 - 04:57 PM

Figured is a small camellia with pointed leaves and small, nodding white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.998, 1807.

Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze var. bohea | BM t.998/1807 | BHL

Family Theaceae
Region of origin

India to China

  • Thea sinensis L.
  • Camellia bohea Lindl.
  • Camellia thea Link
  • Thea bohea L.
Common Name

Chinese tea plant, Tea plant

Name in the Camden Park Record

Thea bohea 

Confidence level high