New Zealand Tea (Leptospermum scoparium)

Regular price $19.95
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Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as New Zealand tea tree or manuka, is a small, evergreen shrub or tree native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. This resilient plant is a member of the Myrtaceae family and thrives in a variety of soil types, though it prefers well-drained, moist conditions. It can be found growing in coastal areas, in forest margins, and on open scrubland, often thriving in harsh environments where other plants might struggle.

The New Zealand tea tree can reach heights of between 5-16ft, but under ideal conditions, it can grow taller. Its bark is characteristically stringy with a flaky texture, and the narrow, pointed leaves are small, leathery, and dark green, emitting a distinctive aroma when crushed. The leaves contain oils that have been traditionally used for their antibacterial and antifungal properties.

One of the most captivating features of Leptospermum scoparium is its profuse flowering habit. The plant produces a bounty of small, pink or sometimes white flowers in the spring and early summer. These flowers are rich in nectar and attract a variety of pollinators, notably bees, which produce the famous manuka honey from the nectar—a product renowned for its unique properties and high market value.

In addition to its uses in apiculture, the New Zealand tea tree is also popular in ornamental horticulture. It is used for screening, as a hedge, and in windbreaks, particularly in coastal locations due to its tolerance to wind and salt spray. This species is also valued for its wood, which is hard and dense, making it suitable for tool handles and other small objects requiring tough, durable wood.

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