Tea World

Lesson 6

Development of fruits of tea

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Although fertilization takes place during the flowering period, i.e. from October to January in India, the first external sign of development of fruits become evident by about March, when the tree starts its next season’s new vegetative growth. Towards to the end of May, the fruits attain considerable size and a hard seed coat is formed inside the pericarp. By about August, the fruits develop into full size with developed embryo inside. The mature embryo, with two large cotyledons remains covered by a hard, deep brown testa, formed by the outer integument. The pericarp encloses one to three seeds inside and is made of thick, parenchymatous tissue when young, which becomes sclerotic on maturity. The ripening of the fruits continues till the next periods of flowering and dehiscence starts by about October and continues up to the end of December, thus taking almost a year from the time of flowering till dehiscence of the fruits.

Tea Seed

Each capsule of tea fruit contains one to three seeds, rarely four of 1.5-2.0 cm diameter. Seeds have a hard testa outside and the embryo is covered in between two large cotyledons. Tea seeds are recalcitrant and lose viability within a few days after shedding from the plant.  

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