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All tea leaves come from the camellia sinensis plant.  Although there are many varieties, the two main ones are camillia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica.  From these common leaves the tea masters craft their own version of how the leaves will be processed to produce white, green, oolong, black or pu-erh tea. It's all up to the tea master...

White tea is named after the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives it a whitish appearance.  The tea once steeped is actually a pale yellow.  The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation.  White tea leaves are picked and first go through withering and then drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying).  White teas go through the least processing activities than any other tea; it does not require panning, rolling or shaking.  The selection of the tea leaves is very strict, only the picking of the young tea leaves with a lot of the fine hairs produce a good quality white tea with a high grading.

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