Contrary to popular simplification, tea is not only produced from Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze var. assamica (J. Masters) Kitam, but also from other species in the genus Camellia (family Theaceae).

Yue Guang Bai, for example, a special (read: my current favourite) white tea from China’s Yunnan province, is made from Camellia taliensis (W.W.Sm.) Melch., which is endemic from western Yunnan province to northern Myanmar. Taxonomically, just like Camellia sinensis, it is placed in the Thea section of the subgenus Thea. However, unlike the sinensis varieties sinensis and assamica, Camellia taliensis is botanically recognised as a species of its own right.

Sources & recommended reading

1. GRIN: Species Records of Camellia sect. Thea, http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/splist.pl?28066

2. The Plant List: Camellia taliensis (W.W.Sm.) Melch., http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2694909

3. Puerh Tea Community: Camellia taliensis (大理茶), http://puerh-tea.livejournal.com/249074.html

4. Genetic diversity and domestication origin of tea plant Camellia taliensis (Theaceae) as revealed by microsatellite markers, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/14/14

5. Phenolic Antioxidants from Green Tea Produced from Camellia taliensis, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf800878m