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Sunday, 27 March 2016 14:26

Tea Tree Oil and the Melaleuca Tree

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The Malaleuca tree is commonly known as tea tree known for its natural soothing and cleansing properties.  The Malaleuca tree is native to Australia and New Zealand. However, it also has been introduced to other parts of the world.

The Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia ) tree, is a genus of plants in the myrtle family Myrtaceae . Also known as punk tree or paper bark tree is an important part of the Australian landscape with powerful medicinal qualities can be distilled and used as an essential oil, more commonly called tea tree oil. Melaleuca is an evergreen tree, growing to about 80 feet tall. Its bark is whitish, spongy, peeling, and in many layers. Its leaves are to 5 inches long, alter nate alternately arranged, ovate to lanceolate, evergreen, simple, short-stalked, narrowly elliptic . Leaf veins are more or less parallel. The white flowers are small and crowded in bottlebrush-like spikes at branch tips. The fruit are short, cylindrical or squarish, woody capsules with many tiny seeds. The flowers are produced in dense clusters along the stems, each flower with fine small petals and a tight bundle of stamens.

The tree thrives in warm, moist climates. It has be grown as a monoculture in the southern states of the United States (USDA hardiness zones 8-11), where it ’s warm and humid for most of the year.

The Melaleuca tree is commonly found growing along waterways and in swamps. Although, the tree is drought tolerant. Produces huge quantities of seeds, which become small trees, which grow into almost impenetrable forest, such as in the state of Florida where the trees are more of a pest and has now classified them as an invasive species.

There are well over 200 recognized species of the Melaleuca tree with each species varying slightly. Some species grow more like shrubs while others grow to become large trees. Certain species can be distinguished by their paper-like bark. The tree blooms beautifully and depending on the species may bloom in white, pink, red or green.

When British explorer James Cook landed in southeast Australia in 1770, he observed local Aborigines brewing the “tea tree” leaves as a tea. Impressed by the tea, he gathered leaves for the use of his crew throughout the remainder of his voyages.

The Melaleuca tree should not be confused with a tea tree that supplies black and green tea. Often, the Melaleuca leaves are used strictly for medicinal purposes and aren’t intended to be ingested frequently.

If you’re wishing to grow your own Melaleuca, you can buy seeds that you can plant or you can propagate a new tree from the branches of an existing one.


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My husband actually bought this excellent lavender oil for me. I'm a certified massage therapist and I use a LOT of essential oils in my practice. Many over the years have been pretty bad quality but WellnesScent, to my happy surprise, is excellent and very potent.

Dec 27, 2015