Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the
vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an
evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush
through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.
After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as
the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become
white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first
flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into
a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first
flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a
small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery
larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.
During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get
rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the
result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The
Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely
desirable second flush leaves.