Herb: Tea-Oil Plant


Latin name: Camellia oleifera


Family: Theaceae (Tea Family)



Medicinal use of Tea-Oil Plant:

The seed oil is used in the treatment of ringworm.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
4 m
(13 feet)

Flovering:
October
to April

Habitat of the herb:

Forests, thickets, banks of streams and foothills at elevations of 500 - 1300 metres.

Edible parts of Tea-Oil Plant:

An oil obtained from the seed is used in cooking.

Other uses of the herb:

A non-drying oil is obtained from the seed - used in textile manufacture, soap making and as an illuminant. The oil consists mainly of olein. It is not subject to polymerize or oxidize, nor does it form solids at low temperatures. A grey dye is obtained from the pink or red petals. The seed cake has insecticidal activity.

Propagation of Tea-Oil Plant:

Seed - can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and the hard covering around the micropyle should be filed down to leave a thin covering. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 23C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall and give them some protection from winter cold for their first year or three outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, August/September in a shaded frame. High percentage but slow. Cuttings of firm wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, end of June in a frame. Keep in a cool greenhouse for the first year. Leaf-bud cuttings, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Forests, thickets, banks of streams and foothills at elevations of 500 - 1300 metres.

Known hazards of Camellia oleifera:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.