Common name: Manuka, Tea tree (Gyorubai ギョリュウバイ in Japanese) or Tea Tree Leptospermum scoparium ‘Red Damask’ (Myrtaceae family)
Leptospermum scoparium is a usually compact shrub to 2 m high (often less) by 2 m wide – with double, deep red flowers and dark green leaves. L. scoparium comes from New Zealand, Tasmania and the SE of Australia. There are also white flowered varieties. The Myrtaceae, consisting of trees and shrubs found in the tropics, subtropics, and temperate Australia, comprises about 140 genera and 3,000 species. The leaves are most commonly opposite. The fruit is usually a berry. The flowers bloom repeatedly mid spring through early fall. attracting bees, butterflies, and birds. Manuka honey from NZ which we take when we have colds is gathered from honey made from the Manuka tree. The plant is very prone to attack by webbing caterpillars.
Interesting facts: Supposedly used by Captain Cook to treat/prevent scurvy. The Manuka Tea Tree is a shrub or small tree native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. It is found throughout New Zealand but is particularly common on the drier east coasts of the North Island and the South Island, and in Australia in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.
Manuka is the Maori name used in New Zealand, and tea tree is a common name used in Australia and to a lesser extent also in New Zealand. The wood is tough and hard, and was often used for tool handles. Manuka sawdust imparts a delicious flavour when used in smoking meats and fish. Manuka honey, produced when honeybees gather the nectar from its flowers, is distinctively flavoured, darker and richer in taste than clover honey, has high antibacterial potency and is widely available in New Zealand. The fresh, pungent leaves are a fragrant and refreshing tea substitute. Of excellent quality, in taste trials this species has often received higher marks than the traditional China tea obtained from Camellia sinensis. It is important to brew the leaves for considerably longer than normal teas to ensure the flavour is released into the water. A sweet manna is sometimes exuded from the stems as a result of insect damage. Another report says that manna is reported to form on the leaves.
It is a prolific scrub-type tree and is often one of the first species to regenerate on cleared land.Many habitats in lowland to alpine areas, rocky and sandy heathland, often by streams. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Propagation From seed or cuttings. Suitable for heavy shade. Frost-hardy. (Plants given an this rating will tolerate frosts to -7°C in conditions of normal rainfall.) Resistant to honey fungus. Suitable hedge or screen plants. Soil: Prefers mildly acidic soil, with a pH of 6.1 to 6.5. Tolerates clay. • Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 6.5 Full sun to partial shade. Does not like long hot afternoon sun. Drought tolerant. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds; resents root disturbance. Plants do not regenerate from old wood so do not prune.