TEA IN AMERICA. About 1880 the United States Department of Agriculture estab lished a small tea-growing plantation near Sum merville, S. C., and various varieties were raised in an experimental way. Later the plan was extended and the Pinehurst. Tea Gardens opened in the suburbs, being supplied with native tea grown on a tract of about 100 acres and manufactured and cured by competent people. Further experiments were made at a place christened Tea, in Colleton County, S. C., and at Pierce, Texas. While it was found possible to grow good teas and to cure them satisfac torily, it was apparently impossible to produce them in competition with the teas of China and Japan, cured by cheap Oriental labor. Hence the experiments were wholly negative commer cially.
a name applied not only to thc Theo bushes (see TEA), but to various species of Leptospermum and Melaleuca myrtaceous shrubs found from China to Aus tralia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The tea tree forms a common and almost impenetrable scrub of Victoria, in moist situations. It is a shrub of varying height and dark-green color, the branches bushy and growing perpendicu larly, the leaves resembling the needles of a fir. The stems are straight, the wood hard and valuable for many bush purposes. Several of the tea-trees belonging to the genus Melakuca furnish the aromatic, pungent cajeput oil (see CAJEPur) of commerce. It is especially ob
tained from M. leucadendron, a tree reaching 30 feet in height, with terminal spikes of white flowers, and elliptical to lanceolate leaves, from which the oil is distilled. It has a crooked trunk, papery employed in packing, and yields a wood which is white, close-grained, hard and durable, even under the ground. M. squarrosa or swamp tea-tree has a thin bark, and the thin, spongy cortex of M. axillaris can be used as a filter or blotting paper. The New Zealand tea-tree or tea-scrub is Lepto spermum scoparium, a heather or juniper-like shrub with leathery foliage, like needles, and many small white blossoms. The common name is said to have been derived from the use of the foliage of this shrub and that of L. lanigerum by Captain Cook for tea, but the native name of the former is ati.n The white tea-tree is L. ericoides, of New Zealand. Other tea-trees are the bottle-green Kunzea corifolia, and the broad-leaved Callistemon salignus, both of Australia and Tasmania; the Ceylon, Elavdendron glaucuni, and the red scrub tea, Rhodomnia trinervia, several of which myrtaceous and have hard, heavy close-grained wood.