Green tea is made from the top two leaves and buds of a shrub, Camellia sinensis, of the family Theaceace and the order Theales. This order consists of 40 genera of trees or shrubs that have evergreen leaves, flowers with five sepal or leaf-like structures and petals. The genus Camellia consists of 80 species of East Asian evergreen shrubs and trees. Besides the leaves, other ingredients may be added to create special scents or flavors during the drying process, such as jasmine, flowers, or fruits.
The tea plant originates in an area between India and China. There are three main varieties of this plant-China, Assam, and Cambodia-and a number of hybrids in between. The China variety grows as high as 9 ft (2.7 m) and has an economic life of at least 100 years. The Assam variety is a tree that grows as high as 60 ft (18.3 m), with an economic life of 40 years dependent upon regular pruning and plucking. The 16 ft (4.9 m) high Cambodia variety is naturally crossed with other varieties.