Manuka Source

'The Honey Flora of Victoria' book written by Dept of AGRICULTURE of Victoria

THE MANUKA (Leptospermum scoparium).
Figs. 64 and 65. (Fig 65. Not shown)

Of the seven species of Leptospermum found in Victoria the Manuka is the most widely distributed. Manuka is the aboriginal name, but it is known in the bush as Tea-tree, Ti-tree, and Wild May. It is a rigid, very much branched shrub, and the young shoots have generally a silky appearance. In alpine situations it is sometimes low and almost prostrate, but more usually erect and attaining occasionally to a height of 12 feet. The leaves are from egg shaped pointed to narrow-lance shaped, sharply pointed, and generally under 1 inch long. The adult foliage is usually smooth and hairless. The flowers are white, stalkless, and occur singly in the axils of leaves or terminating short lateral branchlets in the case of forms flowering early in the season (Fig. 64), while in late districts the flowers are well down below the new leaf growth (Fig. 65), so that the tow forms give the impression of being two distinct species. There is also great variation in the shape and size of the leaves of this species in different localities, and as the different species merge into one another they are very difficult to distinguish. From the apiarist’s point of view, however, there is little difference between the species, the honey from all of them having the same characteristics, that of the Manuka being the strongest flavoured and the hardest to extract of any Tea-tree honey. The Manuka is common in Victoria in heathlands and moist situations. It flowers according to locality in October, November, December, January and February, Fig. 64 representing it up to December. The forms flowering in January and February are shown in Fig. 65.

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