Tea tree

Tea tree
Image: Derwent Estuary Program
Community type

Wet scrub

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

There are about 85 types of tree or shrub loosely referred to as “tea tree” in Australia, and most are endemic to Australia. The name comes from the practice of early European explorers and settlers of making a tea out of the leaves which was rich in vitamin C. Captain Cook is reputed to have used such a tea to prevent scurvy amongst his crew. Some other uses of the leptospermum include Manuka honey, which comes from the Leptospermum scoparium and is used for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also a food plant for moth larvae. Tea tree oil is often believed to be a natural antiseptic. Around a wetland, they may provide habitat for larger animals, including predatory birds, shelter and erosion protection.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.