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Leptospermum scoparium
Leptospermum scoparium foliage and flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Leptospermum
Species: L. scoparium
Binomial name
Leptospermum scoparium
J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka or Tea tree or just Leptospermum) 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 (from Māori 'mānuka') is the name used in New Zealand, and 'tea tree' is a common name in Australia and to a lesser extent also in New Zealand. This name arose because Captain Cook used the leaves to make a 'tea' drink.[1] The common name "Tea Tree" is also shared with the related Melaleuca tree of Australia suggesting that both were used to make tea by Captain Cook.

Contents

Nomenclature and taxonomy

Growth

It is a prolific scrub-type tree and is often one of the first 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. This species is often confused with the closely related species Kānuka - the easiest way to tell the difference between the two species in the field is to feel their foliage - Manuka leaves are prickly while Kanuka leaves are soft.[2] The wood is tough and hard, and was often used for tool handles. Manuka sawdust imparts a delicious flavour when used for smoking meats and fish.

Medical and health benefits

Manuka products have high antibacterial potency for a limited spectrum of bacteria and are widely available in New Zealand. Similar properties led the Māori to use parts of the plant as natural medicine.

Kakariki parakeets (Cyanoramphus) use the leaves and bark of Manuka and Kanuka to rid themselves of parasites. Apart from ingesting the material, they also chew it, mix it with preen gland oil and apply it to their feathers.[3]

Manuka honey, produced when honeybees gather the nectar from its flowers, is distinctively flavoured, darker and richer in taste than clover honey and has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.[4][5] The finest quality Manuka honey with the most potent antimicrobial properties is produced from hives placed in wild, uncultivated areas with abundant growth of Manuka bushes. However a very limited number of scientific studies have been performed to verify its efficacy.

The University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand has formed the Waikato Honey Research Unit to study the composition of honey and its antimicrobial activity. The Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) is the industry association that promotes and standardizes the production of Manuka honey for medical uses. They have created the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) standard which grades honey based on its anti-bacterial strength. In January 2008 Professor Thomas Henle, University of Dresden (Germany)[6] identified Methylglyoxal as the active compound in Manuka honey. This is now shown on products as MGO Manuka honey. E.g. MGO 100 represents 100 mg of Methylglyoxal per kilogram.[7]

Notes & References

  1. ^ J. T. Salmon, The Native Trees of New Zealand, Reed, 1973. ISBN 0-589-01340-8
  2. ^ J. Dawson, R. Lucas, Nature guide to the New Zealand forest. Godwit, 2000
  3. ^ T. Greene, Antiparasitic behaviour in New Zealand parakeets (Cyanoramphus species). Notornis 36 (4) (1989): 322–323. PDF
  4. ^ "Honey helps problem wounds". http://www.physorg.com/news73233240.html.  
  5. ^ "How manuka honey helps fight infection". http://www.physorg.com/news171523022.html.  
  6. ^ Monofloral honey types
  7. ^ Henle, Prof. Thomas. "Summary of article published in January 2008". University of Dresden. http://www.manukahealth.co.nz/data/dl/Molecular_Nutrition_Article.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-01.  

See also

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Translingual

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Proper noun

Leptospermum scoparium

  1. (taxonomy) A taxonomic species within the genus Leptospermum — the manuka or tea tree.

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Leptospermum scoparium

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordines: Unassigned Eurosids I
Cladus: Unassigned Rosids
Ordo: Myrtales
Familia: Myrtaceae
Genus: Leptospermum
Species: Leptospermum scoparium

Name

Leptospermum scoparium J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

References

  • Characteres Generum Plantarum... 72, t. 36, fig. 1. 1775
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular names

English: Mānuka or Tea tree
Français: Manuka
Македонски: Манука
Māori: mi:Mānuka
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Leptospermum scoparium on Wikimedia Commons.

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