68. Ternstroemiaceae—Tea or Camellia family.
Trees or shrubs with simple, usually alternate, leaves, often fascicled at the tops of the branches.
347. THEA.—TEA. The leaves of Camel'lia the'a Link. Habitat: Southern Asia; cultivated. From 25 to 75 mm. (1 to 3 in.) long, petiolate, acute at both ends, irregularly serrate except at base, and with anastomosing veins near the margin; bluish-green or blackish. The green color of tea is not infrequently intensified by a mixture of Prussian-blue and gypsum. Odor peculiar, taste bitter and astringent. Contains volatile oil and an alkaloid, theine, which is analogous to, if not identical with, caffeine. Much of the caffeine of commerce is made from tea siftings. Astringent, tonic, stimulant, and nervine; one of the most valuable stimulating and restorative agents.