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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).

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