Topic: manuka & kanuka
Is part of topic Te Papa’s Bush City
Leptospermum scoparium & Kunzea ericoides
Habit: Small to medium sized trees.
Claims to fame: Used by Captain Cook and early settlers to brew tea. Valued as pollen sources by the honey industry.
Traditional uses: Treatment of urinary complaints, fevers, colds, burns, dysentery, skin and muscle inflammations, eye and mouth problems, and for pain relief and as a sedative (Brooker et al., 2002, New Zealand Medicinal Plants, Reed). Used to brew tea, and beer (Crowe, 2004, A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New Zealand, Penguin).
Distribution/ecology: Important pioneers in forest regeneration. Occur throughout New Zealand. Manuka and kanuka are also found in Australia.
Relationships: Myrtle family. Related to rata and pohutukawa.
Identification: Both have small, narrow leaves and straggly bark. Manuka has bigger flowers and fruits, with the old, dry fruit persisting on the branches for longer than kanuka. Manuka often lacks a single, dominant trunk, while kanuka can grow much taller.
Bush City locations: Mostly around the Fossil Dig (9), Three Kings Volcano (6), and Limestone Formations (11).