Wild Tea in Yuanjiang County, Yuxi

In August, the camellias are in bloom, and the air is filled with fragrance of camellia. There are more than 1 million ancient tea trees growing in three primeval forest areas of Nanxi Town(南溪), Gancha(甘岔), and Wangxiangtai(望乡台) in Yuanjiang County,Yuxi. At present, those tress are blooming with white flowers and inlaid green fruits.

The wild ancient tree is located in the Tuantian Village Committee(团田村委会) of Manlai Town(曼来镇), Yuanjiang County. It is 12 meters high with smooth bark and lush foliage. At bottom of the tree are three thick trunks which are so thick that only three adults can enclose it.

According to local villagers, in October 2014, after sampling and analysis of the altitude climate, soil, tree shape, branches and leaves and flowers of wild ancient tea trees, experts and scholars from the Chinese Academy of Sciences(中国科学院), Yunnan Agricultural University(云南农业大学), and Yunnan Tea Association(云南省茶叶协会) drew a conclusion that this wild ancient tea tree is 1700 years old. After the villager Cui Yuhua(崔玉华) retired from the village party branch secretary, he volunteered to take the responsibility to protect the ancient tea tree.

At the very beginning, when there was no one to manage, the leaves were bare. Now we realize that this is an ancient tea with more than a thousand-year history, so we built a barbed wire fence to protect it. Now not only it grows green leaves, but also blossom and yield fruit.

Yuanjiang County is located in the Ailao Mountains(哀牢山脉). The three-dimensional climate in the territory is prominent, the mountains are vertical and horizontal, and the mountains are stacked. The lowest altitude in the area is 327 meters and the highest altitude is 2,580 meters.It is an area with the most diverse animals and plants, and most Yunnan wild ancient tea trees, which are well-protected, grow in Yuanjiang County. In recent years, the government of Yuanjiang County has strengthened the publicity and protection of wild ancient tea trees, and organized volunteers to go deep into the ancient tea tree community to remove the harmful attached organisms on the trunk, so that the ancient tea trees can grow new leaves, and gradually put an end to private harvesting and random picking of leaves. At the same time,the government also investigate resources, quantity, distribution, growth status, management and protection of the ancient tea mountain and ancient tea tree. For those scattered ancient tea trees, they will be put on a sign for protection.

Tranlated by Lai Ke/赖珂

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