What is a clone?
The simplest definition is- a clone is the indefinite extension of a single plant. That means a selected plant having the desirable characteristics are multiplied by vegetative means and so all the plants retain the characteristics of the mother plant. The mother plant is a clone. Discovery of a simple method of vegetative propagation in tea plant paved the way for selecting clones. The vegetative propagation in tea was discovered in the early thirties of the last centuary, but its standardisation for large scale use in tea industry took nearly 15 years.
Clones are selected from the existing seed populations, which are genetically very heterogeneous, through clonal selection programme. The selection of clones is a laborious process and usually takes longer period before a clone could be released for commercial planting. Clones may also be selected from a population raised after a certain degree of hybridisation among the selected clones. Vegetative clones have been selected as per their respective requirements and used for commercial plantings in many countries.