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Leptospermum_scoparium - J.R.Forst.&G.Forst.

Common Name Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand Tea Tree
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Many habitats in lowland to alpine areas, North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands[44]. Rocky and sandy heathland, often by streams[260].
Range Australia and New Zealand
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Leptospermum_scoparium Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand  Tea Tree

Leptospermum_scoparium Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand  Tea Tree


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Bloom Color: Pink, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Leptospermum_scoparium is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

The fresh, pungent leaves are a fragrant and refreshing tea substitute[144, 153, 183]. Of excellent quality, in taste trials this species has often received higher marks than the traditional China tea obtained from Camellia sinensis[K]. It is important to brew the leaves for considerably longer than normal teas to ensure the flavour is released into the water[K]. A sweet manna is sometimes exuded from the stems as a result of insect damage[153, 173]. Another report says that manna is reported to form on the leaves[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

This species can be grown as a hedge in the milder areas of Britain[200] and is reasonably tolerant of maritime exposure. Plants should not be trimmed back into old wood, however, because they do not regenerate from such treatment. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the flowers, branches and leaves[168]. A greenish-black dye is obtained from the flowers[168]. Source of an insecticide[153] (no further details). Wood - red, strong, elastic. Used for inlay work, cabinet making etc[61]. The bark is used for roofing huts[61].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Screen, Seashore. Succeed in almost any neutral or acid soil of good or reasonable quality[200], preferring a light sandy loam and full sun[200]. Succeeds in dry soils. Prefers a position sheltered from hot or cold drying winds. We have found the plants to be fairly tolerant of maritime exposure[K]. The plant only succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of Britain. Hardy to about -10°c, succeeding outdoors in most of Southern Britain[184]. A polymorphic species, many forms have been developed for their ornamental value[182]. There are some dwarf varieties that grow very well in pots in cold greenhouses and conservatories[260]. Resents root disturbance. Plants do not regenerate from old wood[200]. The bruised leaves and the flowers are pleasantly aromatic[219, 245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors. The seed remains viable for many years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm with a heel, early August in a frame. Over-winter in the greenhouse for its first year. Good percentage[78]. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 4 - 5 cm with a heel, October/November in a frame. Good percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Africa, Australia, Britain, East Africa, Hawaii, New Zealand*, Pacific, Tasmania*, USA, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Leptospermum scopariumTea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand Tea TreeShrub5.0 8-11 MLMHNDM303

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Elizabeth Webber   Wed Aug 23 2006

The tea tree is used medicinally as a antiseptic. You can buy tea tree oil in many shops to use on cuts and on blemishes.

Guillaume hue   Thu Sep 28 2006

There seems to be so many tee trees (including melaleuca species)! Which is the commercialised one ?

Ken Fern   Fri Sep 29 2006

There are two very different plants that have the common name of tea tree. The genus Leptospermum, particularly L. scoparium, is used for making cups of tea - a very tasty alternative to China tea. The genus Melaleuca, especially M. alternifolia and M. hypericifolia, produces the essential oil so often used medicinally and as an anti-fungal agent.

Paul Watts, Plant breeder   Sat Oct 28 2006

'Manuka' honey made from pollen collected from L. scoparium has proven antisceptic qualities. Details from the Honey Research unit of the university of Waikato. (Prof Peter Molan)

Charles Rodgers   Tue Nov 28 2006

There are two main commercial "tea trees". Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) and Melaleuca alternifolia (often refered to as Australian tea tree). There are of course many other species of tea tree (over 80 species in the Leptospermum Genus). Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil gained popularity for its anti-microbial properties and is now used in many products. Since the early 1990's microbial challenge testing of New Zealand "East Cape" chemotype Manuka has shown that the anti-microbial activity of its essential oil is often greater than that of Melaleuca alternifolia. The focus on the essential oils is only half the story however (and I'm surprised that this as not been included in the "Medicinal Rating" on this site). New Zealand Maori medicine has a long tradition of Manuka use - and not just the volatile oil fractions. Fresh plant or ethanolic tincture of the flowers and leaves contain not only the volatile oils but Tannins, Triterpine Acids and its derivatives, and Flavonoids. It is used both internally and topically for the following actions: Astringent, Antidiarrhoeal, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, a mild Sedative, Anxiolytic, Diuretic, Febrifuge, and Diaphoretic. Medically it is used internally for: Diarrhoea, Indigestion, Colic, Irritable bowel syndrome, Dyspepsia, Fevers, Coughs, Colds, Influenza, Urinary conditions, and Anxiety. Topically it is used for: Bacterial and Fungal infections, Wounds, Cuts, Sores, Slow healing ulcers, Eczema and Inflammatory Skin Conditions. A versatile phyto medicine. N.B. Manuka should not be taken internally without the advice of a trained professional. In excess it can be toxic. (Authored by: English degree trained Medical Herbalist currently residing in New Zealand. I declare no conflict of interest.)

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Tue Feb 20 2007

The following is an extract from a medicinal herb info sheet I produced on this species. The principle active constituent in the leaves is an essential oil, whilst triterpenoids and flavonoids have also been isolated. The oil varies considerably in its make-up depending on the area in which the plant is growing, nine different chemotypes having been identified. A form in the East Cape of New Zealand has the strongest antibacterial action and so is more suitable for medicinal use. A South Island form has a high geraniol and linalol content and is more suitable for perfumery. The essential oil has been shown to be an effective antimicrobial with broad-spectrum action. Studies in New Zealand, for example, have shown that the plant can destroy the Heliobacter bacterium that is implicated in peptic and duodenal ulcers. The oil is made up of several components including cineole which is a stimulating expectorant when taken internally and is a mild anaesthetic and antiseptic when used externally. Limonene has an expectorant and antiviral action. Pinene and cymene have a powerful antiseptic action. Linalool is a powerful antimicrobial, whilst it also has effective sedative effects and is rapidly absorbed through the skin and nasal mucosa. The principle medical actions of the leaves and young shoots can be summarized as follows:- • It is a very effective antimicrobial, comparable to the essential oil obtained from the TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia). It has proved effective against a very wide range of pathogens, in particular, streptococci and staphylococcal bacteria and fungi that affect the skin. • It has mild pain-relieving properties and, when applied topically, has anaesthetic properties. • It has mild sedative properties. • It promotes the flow of perspiration in a fever. This actually has a cooling effect upon the body whilst also aiding in the elimination of toxins via the perspiration. • It has a stimulatory effect upon the immune system. • It is anti-inflammatory. • It promotes the expectoration of catarrh from the respiratory tract. MANUKA is a very effective antimicrobial and has a range of therapeutic actions and medicinal uses similar to TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia). It is very helpful in the treatment of a range of complaints of the respiratory system, especially where that is an over-production of catarrh. Conditions such as bronchitis, coughs, colds, asthma, whooping cough and pneumonia have all been shown to respond well to treatment. MANUKA’S antimicrobial action and ability to rid the system of catarrh make it a very effective treatment for complaints of the urinary tract such as cystitis and urethritis. It is also effective in treating intestinal complaints such as colitis, food poisoning and gastritis. Research has shown it to be helpful in cases of peptic and duodenal ulcers whilst it will also aid in the removal of intestinal parasites. MANUKA can be taken both internally and externally as a douche to treat vaginal conditions such as vaginitis, leucorrhoea and candida. It can be taken internally, or used as a mouthwash and gargle in treating gum infections, mouth ulcers, sore throats, tonsillitis and laryngitis. The essential oil is most commonly used externally, though a wash made from the leaves can also be employed. Its antimicrobial action makes it a most effective treatment for a range of skin conditions. In particular, it is used to treat fungal and other parasitic infections such as scabies and ringworm, bacterial infections such as abscesses, boils and impetigo, also viral infections such as herpes and warts. It is very helpful in relieving all manner of other skin conditions such as eczema and dandruff. It is an excellent application for nail infections, cuts, blisters and sores, whilst it soothes sunburn and will quickly relieve the discomfort of insect bites and stings. It can be rubbed over arthritic joints and aching muscles in order to relieve the pain. It has also been found helpful in conditions such as varicose ulcers, corns and bunions.

   Wed May 30 2007

Which hemisphere are we talking? . . . when speaking about which month is best for talking small "cuttings" or rather small torn off pieces of branch with a heel. Are we talking august thru december in the southern or northern hemisphere. Please specify!!! Mine did 50% rooting success in California w/o a greenhouse in January. Started indoors, they did not really start to form roots until May.

val r   Thu Jun 14 2007

. I have used tea tree oil for sunburn, cleaning cuts and in my bath to feel nice and clean. i have also used diluted mixed with diluted washing up liquid on rose bushes to treat blackspot and to kill aphids. ver helpfull i knew it had good uses and now my knowledge is increased thank you :-) v

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