Mānuka

Leptospermum scoparium

Evergreen, native to Australia and New Zealand.

Also known as tea tree, from the time Captain Cook made a hot drink from the leaves.

Mānuka are found throughout New Zealand, except for the Canterbury Plains.

Mānuka are often confused with kānuka – a similar-looking tree, but a different genus and species. Mānuka have prickly leaves, flowers are individual, and more than 6mm diameter, with a pink center.

Mānuka wood was widely used as spear shafts, battens, rafters, paddles garden tools and firewood. The sawdust provides a delicious flavour when smoking meat or fish.

Honey made by bees visiting mānuka is highly-prized. Essential oil made from the leaves is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.