Cover Photo: An image of a Fukien Tea Tree against a light pink background. On the right side of the tree we see the growth of green leaves. A white flower grows from a branch into the left, surrounded by branches.
Photograph by Horia Varlan/Flickr

My Grandfather and the Fukien Tea Tree: A Botanical History

I added it to the list of things off-limits: questions about the past, the wars, why my grandparents had fled China for Taiwan. Why eventually they left that place too.

Ehretia microphylla

Don’t touch it

were shaped amid ideas of colonialism and apartheid.

Chinese travelogues too muchia handsome; he grow only a leete and a leete everyday.

Ehretia microphyllaCarmona retusa

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, and the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She is the author of two books of nature writing: Turning (2017) and Two Trees Make a Forest (2019), shortlisted for Canada Reads 2021. Jessica has a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics and is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review. She is a researcher at the University of Cambridge.