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Robert Fortune (16 September 1812 – 13 April 1880) was a Scottish botanist, plant hunter and traveller best known for introducing tea plants from China to India.

Fortune introduced 20,000 tea plants and seedlings to the Darjeeling region of India. He also brought with him a group of trained Chinese tea workers who would facilitate the production of tea leaves. With the exception of a few plants which survived in established Indian gardens, most of the Chinese tea plants Fortune introduced to India perished. The technology and knowledge that was brought over from China, however, may have been instrumental in the later flourishing of the Indian tea industry.

Apart from his many contributions to botanical history, Fortune was the first European to discover that so-called black tea and green tea were actually from the same plant.


For a more comprehensive treatment, see the article on Wikipedia.

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