Camellia taliensis (also known as Yunnan large leaf varietal tea, wild tea, Dali tea, Yunnan broad tea, and others; 大理茶) is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea.
It is of the genus Camellia of flowering plants in the family Theaceae.
C. taliensis is an important wild relative to the cultivated tea plant Camellia sinensis. It also belongs to the same section Thea as C. sinensis.
It is an endangered species due to human caused fragmentation of the plant's natural habitat and from overpicking of the leaves for the tea market.
Camellia talensis has five locules per ovary while in comparison C. sinensis has three locules per ovary.
It grows primarily in the southwestern portion of Yunnan province in China and in neighboring areas in Thailand and northern Myanmar.
C. taliensis has larger leaves than C. sinensis var. sinensis closer to the size of C. sinensis var. assamica. And, in several chemical composition and morphological comparisons, C. taliensis is also closer to C. sinensis var. assamica than to C. sinensis var. sinensis. However, the closer similarity may also be due to human selection (which causes reduction in genetic diversity) as C. sinensis var. assamica is the tea variety traditionally cultivated in Yunnan.
Like C. sinensis, C. taliensis contains both theanine and caffeine.
C. talensis can be easily crossed with C. sinensis, and the resulting crossbred plants are intermediate between species both morphologically and chemically indicating true hybrids.
Camellia taliensis is locally used to make white tea, black tea, and pu'er tea.
Yue Guang Bai (月光白 "Moonlight White") is a white tea made from the plant.
Yunnan pu-erh tea made from C. taliensis can command a much higher price than pu'er made from the more common C. sinensis.