03 September 2011

Ehretia buxifolia- Poor Man’s Tea



  • Fujian Tea 
  • Fukien Tea 
  • Philippine Tea 
  • Philippine False Tea
  • Poor Man’s Tea 
  • Tsaang gubat 
  • Wild Tea

Once known as Carmona microphylla,
renamed Ehretia buxifolia or Ehretia microphylla




teens love to give
their Moms a
"Fuken" Tea Bonsai


A Fukien Tea Tree Penjiing is a popular as an "indoor bonsai" plant. The Fujian Tea may not be the best choice if you are a beginner, but an experienced bonsai enthusiast will enjoy the challenge. Fukien Tea "bonsai" imports from China have become very popular commercial "Bonsai".

The Fukien Tea is a tropical evergreen tree that is common in the Fujian Province in China. It is found growing throughout eastern and south-eastern Asia and is used as an herbal tea and medicine.  Fukien tea will make you “feel young and slim”.












Flowers and foliage of a
Fukien Tea Tree
''Carmona'' bonsai



The tree produces shiny dark green leaves and miniature white flowers in the summer which eventually turn to small tomato shaped green changing to orange then to red berries. 




tomato shaped green changing
to orange then to red berries.

















Keep Ehretia microphylla outdoors as long as possible and bring them in when the nighttime lows are below 50º F. Good air circulation is vital indoors. Indoors select a well lit area and warm spot. The more sunlight the tree receives the smaller the leaves will grow and if the tree does not receive the proper amount of sunlight, it will not produce flowers or berries. The Fujian Tea is relatively pest free in an open outdoor location. Indoors check regularly for pests. These trees are susceptible to scale, aphids and mealy bugs. Indoors there are no natural predators, like lady bugs to keep pests under control, so it will be up to you to deal with the pests yourself. Fukien Tea is sensitive to pesticides. Fukien tea prefers a humid environment. To create a more humid environment, place a tray filled with very small stones or gravel and fill with water and place the pot on top of the stones making sure that the water does not wick into the soil.








Ehretia is relatively pest free
 in an open outdoor location.
Train the Fujian Tea using “clip-and-grow” methods, trim frequently and use little wire. New shoots emerge from the base of leaf stalks after pruning. The most popular styles are broom, literati and cascade. There is a “Small leaf” variety is slow to develop a trunk, but bears tiny red fruit prolifically and a “medium leaf” variety develops a bulky trunk more quickly.

Keep moist but do not to overwater. Use a good well draining soil. Fukien Tea likes to be evenly moist, not soaking wet. It prefers some organic matter in the soil mix. Root bound Ehretia can deteriorate quickly. Root prune and repot in early summer when the nighttime lows are above 50º F and daytime highs are above 90º F.






Seedling under
 the mother tree.


The Fujian Tea is easy to start from seed. Remove the moist coating from the fruit, and plant immediately into moist well draining soil. Within a short time small seedlings will emerge. Sometimes seedlings sprout under the mother plant. Seedlings are excellent for Penjing or forest plantings. Start shaping them when the trunk becomes woody.






Flowers and foliage 
Fukien Tea Tree
Ehretia buxifolia






Cuttings and air layers are also good methods to propagate Ehretia.


Ehretia buxifolia is used in the Philippines and India as an herbal medicine.



Sometimes seedlings sprout
under the 
Fukien Tea Tree.








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