Botanist's Glossary

Tea Tree - Melaleuca alternifolia

  • Description
    • The tea tree is a small Australian evergreen tree (Myrtaceae family) with very aromatic leaves that have a strong, fresh and bitter scent. The flowers are white, with 5 petals and long stamens grouped into 5 bundles. The English name "tea tree" should not be confused with the tea plant.
  • Traditions
    • The Aborigines would make a poultice from ground tea tree leaves to treat cuts and wounds. Tea tree can also be used to purify drinking water. These days, it is valued for its antibacterial essential oil, which is commonly used for infectious dermatoses.
  • Properties
    • The leaves and end branches are distilled to obtain the essential oil, which has soothing and restorative properties. It is also a very important antiseptic and does not irritate the skin.