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Uses

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Melaleuca alternifolia.

Material uses

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves[1][2]. It is strongly germicidal and is also used in dentistry, deodorants, soaps, mouthwashes etc[1][3]. Wood - very durable in wet conditions and in damp ground[4].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Tea tree, and in particular its essential oil, is one of the most important natural antiseptics and it merits a place in every medicine chest[5]. It is useful for treating stings, burns, wounds and skin infections of all kinds[5].

An essential oil obtained from the leaves and twigs is strongly antiseptic, diaphoretic and expectorant[1][2][3]. It stimulates the immune system and is effective against a broad range of bacterial and fungal infections[3]. Internally, it is used in the treatment of chronic and some acute infections, notably cystitis, glandular fever and chronic fatigue syndrome[5]. It is used externally in the treatment of thrush, vaginal infections, acne, athlete's foot, verrucae, warts, insect bites, cold sores and nits[3]. It is applied neat to verrucae, warts and nits, but is diluted with a carrier oil such as almond for other uses[3]. The oil is non-irritant[3]. Another report says that high quality oils contain about 40% terpinen-4-ol, which is well tolerated by the skin and 5% cineol which is irritant. However, in poor quality oils the levels of cineol can exceed 10% and in some cases up to 65%[5].

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Antiseptic'[6].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in spring or autumn onto a pot of permanently moist soil in a warm greenhouse. Emmerse in 5cm of water and do not water from overhead. Grow on until the seedlings are 0.5cm tall then remove from the water and pot up a week later. Seedlings are liable to damp off when grown this way, sowing the seed thinly, good ventilation and hygiene are essential for success[7]. Grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and then plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe lateral shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame[7].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Melaleuca alternifolia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a fertile, well-drained moisture retentive lime-free soil in full sun[8]. Prefers a soil that does not contain much nitrogen[9]. Plants are shade tolerant and succeed in most soils and aspects except dry conditions when they are grown in Australian gardens[2].

This species is not very cold hardy and is only likely to succeed outdoors in the very mildest parts of Britain. It tolerates temperatures down to at least -7°c in Australian gardens[2] but this cannot be translated directly to British gardens because of our cooler summers and longer colder and wetter winters. Seed takes about 12 months to develop on the plant, the woody seed capsules persist for 3 or more years[7]. Any pruning is best done after the plants have flowered with the intention of maintaining a compact habit[7]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[7].

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[7].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Melaleuca alternifolia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Melaleuca alternifolia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Melaleuca alternifolia
Genus
Melaleuca
Family
Myrtaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    6 x 4 meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type












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