|Snow White tea tree|
I have two Snow White tea tree plants and two Jubilee New Zealand tea tree plants (Leptospermum scoparium). They are native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. They like dry, low-nutrient soils, so they are perfect for this area. These are related to, but not the same as, the Melaleuca alternifolia tree which is also commonly called tea tree and from which tea tree oil is produced.
Leptospermum is a shrub or small tree that can grow eight to ten feet tall and six feet wide. Mine are small, about one and a half to two feet tall. They are evergreen, with dense branching and small leaves. The flowers on the Jubilee tea tree are called scarlet, but they look like a deep pink.
|Jubilee tea tree|
The common name for these plants is Manuka from the Maori word manuka. Manuka honey from their flowers is darker and richer in taste than clover honey and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. The wood on the plants is tough and hard and is often used for tool handles.
|Jubilee tea tree flowers|
Wilipedia says the name tea tree arose because Captain Cook used the leaves from both Melaluca and Leptospermum to make a tea drink.
I also planted four Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) plants which I have never grown before. I have read that these plants originated in from the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa. It is the only idigenous South African species out of twelve species of the genus Tecoma. The rest of the genus originates from Arizona to South America. It is also now cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. It has flowers that are similar in shape to a honeysuckle, but it is not a honeysuckle and is not fragrant.
My Cape Honeysuckle has vivid orange flowers, although there are varieties with yellow, scarlet or apricot flowers. It is evergreen in this area. Since it is a fast grower, it can be invasive. I have read that it can be grown as a barrier hedge, a climbing vine or a ground cover for steep slopes and rocky banks.