Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Manuka or Tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) is a shrub or small tree native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. Manuka are 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 a prolific scrub type tree and is often one of the first native species to regenerate on cleared land. It is typically a shrub growing to 2-5 m tall, but can grow into a moderately sized tree, up to 15 m or so in height. It is evergreen, with dense branching and small leaves 7-20 mm long and 2-6 mm broad, with a short spine tip. The flowers are white, occasionally pink, 8-15 mm (rarely up to 25 mm) diameter, with five petals.
Manuka 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, and is widely available in New Zealand.
Manuka is the Maori name used in New Zealand and tea tree is a common name used in New Zealand and Australia.
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