Leptospermum scoparium (manuka or kahikatoa or New Zealand tea tree) is a shrub or small tree native to New Zealand. It is a scrub-type tree and is often one of the first species to regenerate on cleared land. It grows from 2 to 15 m tall. It is evergreen, with dense branches and tiny leaves 7–20 mm long and 2–6 mm wide, with sharp tip. The wood is hard wood and often used for tool handle and firewood.
Manuka sawdust imparts a delicious flavour when used for smoking meats and fish. It is cultivated in New Zealand for manuka honey, produced when honeybees gather the nectar from its flowers, and for the pharmaceutical industry.
It has white flowers, sometimes pink and very rarely red. It is 1 cm in diameter, and flowering occurs in spring and early summer. The flowers are attractive to bees. Manuka leaves can be drunk for uninary complaints and as a febrifuge. The steam from leaves boiled in water can be inhaled for head colds. A decoction can be prepared from the leaves and bark, and the warm liquid is rubbed on stiff muscles and aching joints. The emollient white gum, called pai Manuka, can be given to nursing babies and also used to treat scalds and burns. Chewing the bark is said to have a relaxing effect and it enhances sleep.
Pure essential oil Manuka oil, steam distilled from the leaves of New Zealand grown Manuka, has been used traditionally by Maori as applications for wounds, cuts, sores and skin diseases, and this traditional use has been validated in recent years with significant antimicrobial & anti-fungal activity.