Botanical name Leptospermum scoparium Maori name Kahikatoa The Maori recognized the Manuka tree as a special child of Tane Mahuta, the God of New Zealand’s forest, in spite of its small size and insignificant shape. This Manuka was valued by both Maori and early European settlers and used medicinally for a wide range of treatments including poultices of the bark and seed pod for burns and wounds, infusions of the leaves and bark for digestive problems, inflammation and pain relief, and even inhalations for colds. It is interesting to note that these treatments using the leaves and bark of the Manuka tree correlate with the healing properties of the honey, as supported by recent scientific research. The Manuka has a close relative, Kanuka, Leptospermum ericoides, which produces pollen and honey virtually indistinguishable from Manuka, and with similar healing properties. Both trees grow throughout New Zealand, from coastal scrubland right up to Alpine altitudes, in uncultivated wilderness areas, giving nursery shelter to regenerating forest trees. The Manuka grows up to 4 metres, but the taller Kanuka can reach 15 metres. Both have attractive five-petalled white flowers tinged with pink centers, yielding nectar in early New Zealand Summer (November to early January). In a good season, trees covered with a profusion of these delicate white flowers look as though they are covered with a light dusting of snow.