Leptospermum petersonii is commonly known as ‘lemon-scented tea tree’ It is a genus in the Family Myrtaceae (the myrtle family). Most species are uniquely indigenous to Australia.

The common name ‘tea tree’ for the Leptospermum species derives from the practice of early Australian settlers who soaked the leaves of several species in boiling water to make an herbal tea rich in vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

The nectar from the flowers is harvested by bees. This is used to make Leptospermum honey. in Australia. Leptospermum honey is a potent killer of numerous bacterial (including antibiotic-resistant) pathogens.

The tree has simple leaves, 20 – 40 mm long, sharp-tipped, base tapering and sessile. It has a distinctive lemony aroma. The leaves are evergreen all year round.

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The leaves are simple, sharp-tipped, 20 – 40 mm long; the flowers are white and solitary.

 

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The bark of the tree trunk is rough and flaky.
Close up view of the bark
Close up view of the bark

 

The flowers of the tea tree have 5 green sepals, 5 white petals, many stamen (about 25 to 30) and a long style with a 5-locular ovary.

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In each flower, there are 5 green sepals, 5 white petals, many stamen and a long style. The flower has a large green hypanthium (cup-like receptacle) with glands for nectar secretion.

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Close up view of a flower. The stigma of the style is right in the centre of the photo.
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The underside of the flower showing the 5 green separate sepals and a large hypanthium

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The stamens and the stigma as seen under a microscope

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The ovary was cut transversely to show the 5-locular structure
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The capsules (fruits) of the plant. The development young fruit is green in colour, the mature ones are brown and woody.

 

Leptospermum petersonii is a fantastic tree in suburban areas because of its small growth and can also be used as a hedge because of its dense foliage. It is also a bird attractant.

 

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptospermum

https://www.anbg.gov.au/leptospermum/leptospermum-petersonii.html

http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Leptospermum~petersonii

 

 

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