Oolong tea is also occasionally seen spelled as wulong or wu long. The meaning of this word is "dark dragon." Dragons are considered very auspicious and are highly revered in China. The name for oolong tea may have originated from the shape and color of the leaf--long, twisted, and dark--but there are a number of legends about the origins about the name as well, such as the Legend of Wu Long:

Wu Liang was picking tea one day. On his way home he spotted a deer, killed it, and took it home. Distracted by the preparation of the deer, he forgot to dry his tea. When he finally remembered his tea, it had changed color. Wu was worried that the tea was spoiled, but not wanting to be wasteful, he let it continue to dry. After the tea was dried, he made a cup and tried it cautiously. He was pleasantly surprised by its mellow taste and aromatic fragrance. He made some for his neighbors as well, and very soon his name spread throughout the province. The tea eventually became known as Wu long, or dark dragon tea.


*the above information about Oolong tea was taken from the Specialty Tea Institute Level 3 Professional Certification Program, 2012