Tea (camellia sinensis) shares thousands of years of history with humans, and is deeply rooted in East Asian culture. Most tea grows as small shrubs, but it can live for a long time – and it can grow up to be a very large tree!

The tree in this photo was the oldest known tea tree in the world, estimated to be 3200 years old. Before the tree died in 2012, its leaves were used to make pu-erh, a kind of fermented black tea which can be aged for many years before being drunk.

Incidentally, this is nothing to do with tea tree oil, which comes from a tree called melaleuca alternifolia, and grows in Eastern Australia.

I know, right? I watched a documentary a while ago about tea makers in China who go on forest expeditions to find wild tea trees to make pu-erh from. Interesting stuff...

@ziggurat I do, as long as it’s a good one. The cheap pu-erh teabags are... not so good.

@InvaderXan Hah, yeah. Some of them just taste like a fresh pile of rotting leaves.

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