Bada Cha Wang Shu
In the early 1960’s Yunnan University of Agriculture and Yunnan Tea Reasearch Institute conducted research on an ancient tea tree in the Da Hei Shan rain forest. The wild tree – camelia sinensis var. taliensis (Var. Dali), was at an altitude of 1900 metres, had a girth at its base of 2.5 meteres and was 34 metres tall. It was dated at 1700+ years old. It was said to be the worlds oldest living tea tree and helped add weight to the argument that southern Yunnan is the home of the tea tree.
The tree is said to have been weakened by termite and other insect infestation and also that wind and rain erosion further compromised its strength.
The trunk had become hollowed, which in turn had affected nutrient absorption. These factors coupled with wood rot caused the death of the tree which fell on the 9th of October, apparently, brought down by the wind.
The photo here was taken a few years ago by a friend, Wang Yun Song. The top of the tree had already been hit by lightening.
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