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either black or green tea may be prepared from any teaplant. The green teas are less subjected to the action of fire than the black, and therefore retain more of the original colour and peculiar qualities of the leaf; but they are at the same time infinitely more liable to suffer from time and damp. If the two kinds of tea-leaves are examined, after having been expanded in hot water, it will be observed that the black contain the stems of the leaves, as well as some portion of the stalks on which they grew, while the Hyson leaves have generally been pinched off above the leaf-stem. The black tea thus contains much of the woody fibre, while the fine green is exclusively the fleshy part of the leaf itself, which is one good reason why it should be dearer.
Chě-keang produces green tea ; but the principal district is in Keang-nân, at the north-west extremity of a range of hills dividing that province from Chě-keang, between the thirtieth and thirty-first parallels of north latitude. The tea-plant was first seen by us in the embassy, on the return from Peking, not far from this district, on the southern bank of the Yang-tse-keang, where the soil was composed partly of a micaceous sand. The black-tea country is in. Fokien, between 27o and 28° latitude, on the south-east declivities of a range of hills dividing that province from Keang-sy. The tea-shrub succeeds best on the sides of mountains, where there is a small accumulation of vegetable soil. We observed it always elevated above the plains, in situations where the soil was a disintegration of sandstone or of granite, similar to the habitat of the single camellia, from whose seeds an oil is extracted. Dr. Abel hence infers that the hills at the Cape would afford the best situation and climate for the growth of tea; and it has been actually found to flourish on the higher parts of St. Helena. As a substitute for tea, the poorer Chinese sometimes use an infusion of dried fern-leaves, and we found these commonly sold for the express purpose near the Poyang lake.
The camellia bears the same name, among the Chinese, with the tea-shrub, and possesses most of its botanical characters. They in fact constitute two genera very closely allied, of which the distinctions, consisting principally in the seed, have been accurately noted by Dr. Wallich. The seed vessel of the tea is a three-lobed capsule, with the lobes strongly marked, and each of them of the size of a black currant, containing one round seed. When ripe, each of the three lobes bursts vertically in the middle, and exposes the seed. The capsule of the camellia is not lobular externally, but contains altogether three seeds, like that of the tea, though of a longer shape.
In the year 1834 it was discovered that the real tea
Camellia oleifera. plant was indigenous to the Company's territories in Upper Assam, bordering on the Chinese province of Yun-nân: and there now appears to be every reason for feeling certain that it may be cultivated, under proper management, with complete success, for commercial purposes, as well as for local consumption. An Assam tea company has been actually established, in consequence of the successful out-turn of some specimens of produce sent home to England.
While Lord Hardinge was Governor-General of India, he successfully established tea-plantations in the country of Kumaon, bordering on the Himalaya range. The author of this furnished at his request some native Chinese
from the tea-districts, together with the means of growing and manufacturing the article ; and the exertions of Mr. Fortune since then have contributed greatly to the progress and success of the undertaking.
In our works of more than a century back, as in the Spectator,' Pope's poems,* &c., we always find the term Bohea applied to the best tea. Our principal trade was then at Amoy and Chinchew in Fokien ; and the name, as before observed, is corrupted from the appellation of a celebrated mountain † in the black-tea districts of that province. The term is now applied in England to the lowest description of black tea, called by the Chinese Ta-cha, “ large tea,” from the size of the leaves, which are allowed to remain on the shrub until they are full-grown and coarse. It is a general rule that all tea is fine in proportion to the tenderness and immaturity of the leaves. In the green-tea districts the plants themselves are never allowed to reach a large size, but frequently renewed ; while, in the black, both the plant and the leaves that form the last picking attain their full growth. The finest black tea, called Pekoe, consists of the spring buds as they begin to expand ; and, in like manner, the tender leaflets of the green-tea plant are made into an expensive kind called Loong-tsing, or Hyson-pekoe, which is highly esteemed by the Chinese, but not brought to Europe, as it is so delicate and slightly fired as to spoil with the least damp. But we are anticipating the subject of tea as an article of commerce, which will come under a future chapter.
The Laurus camphora, one of the most remarkable
* "Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea.”
Rope of the Lock t Soong-lo, a general name for all green tea, is also the name of another mountain in Keang-nân, about 309 lat.
productions of China, as well as Japan, is a fine timbertree, growing in the southern provinces to the height of fifty feet, and sometimes measuring twenty in circumference, with large branches eight or nine feet in girth. From the wood, which is highly scented with camphor, are obtained great quantities of that gum-resin. The process has been very exactly described by Dentrecolles. Fresh-gathered branches, cut into small pieces, are steeped in water for some days, and then boiled in a proper vessel, being continually stirred about with a stick until the gum begins to adbere in the form of a white jelly. The fluid is next poured into a glazed vessel, and, being left at rest for some time, is found concreted. The crude camphor is then purified by sublimation as follows:-a layer of dry earth, finely powdered, is laid at the bottom of a metal vessel.; on this is placed a layer of camphor, and then a layer of earth, and so on alternately until the vessel is filled, and the series terminated by a layer of earth; over this is laid a covering of green mint. A second vessel is now inverted over the first, and luted on. The whole is then put over a regulated fire, and afterwards allowed to cool, when the camphor is found to have sublimed, and attached itself to the upper vessel. The wood of the camphor-tree is very extensively used for chests and furniture, being proof against insects. As it works without any tendency to splitting, it is excellently calculated, and much employed at Canton, for building European boats. Another wood, that of the Melis azedarach, vulgarly called “sham-wood," is also a very common material among carpenters.
On the northern limits of the Canton province two species of fir, the Pinus massoniana and lanceolata, grow in abundance. The summits of the limestone cliffs, which border the river soon after its commencement to