Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Fuzhou Jasmine and Tea Culture System




Site location:  Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, P.R.China

Area of GIAHS: 3,291 ha

Population working for this system: 3,710, 926 persons

Topological Characteristics: Mountainous and hilly areas cover 72.68% of the site with complex topography non fertile lands with aquifers

Climatic Classification: subtropical maritime monsoon climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Mainly Han, but also She, Hui and Man people

Primary Income Sources: agriculture, migrant labor and trade


Originating in the Persian Gulf, jasmines were introduced into China during the West Han Dynasty. Ever since, they have been cultivated in China for over 2000 years. Fuzhou is most famous for their cultivation as the city boasts the most favorable climate for the many species. It‘s in this city that the tea scenting method was first invented more than 1000 years ago. People continued to develop scenting in the Ming Dynasty, and began to use machines in scenting since the Qing Dynasty.

Jasmine tea is distinctive from other herbal teas in that it is a scented tea. Its processing is also more complicated. Combining the health effects of tea and flower, jasmine tea is good for human health. The long history has shaped a culture of jasmine and tea in Fuzhou, endowing the city with a distinct cultural significance. The system is also of great ecological significance. This is because jasmine and tea trees grow in different environments. Together with the diversified microclimates, they have shaped vertical landscapes. When one looks from the mountain top to the river, on can see, in the following order, tea plants, trees, buildings, jasmines and waterways.

However, with the advance of urbanization and industrialization, the plantation areas of Jasmine experienced drastic drops in every year from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, which resulted in the destruction of many biological habitats and consequently put the biodiversity under serious threat.