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Zones 14-24
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Moderate, Minimal

Leptospermum laevigatum

Australian Tea Tree
Myrtaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

LEPTOSPERMUM

Native to Australia and New Zealand. Called tea tree because Captain Cook brewed a tea from the leaves and gave it to his crew as a scurvy preventive. Substantial and useful plants year-round; soft and casual looking (never rigid or formal). Most make a display of five-petaled single flowers (somewhat like tiny wild roses) along stems among the small leaves. Petals surround a hard central cone or cup that matures to a woody seed capsule that hangs on for a long time after the petals drop. Flowers are typically white, pink, or red.

Leptospermum laevigatum

Large shrub or small tree to 10–30 ft. high and wide, with oval or teardrop-shaped, dull green to gray-green leaves to 1 in. long. Blooms in spring, bearing white flowers to 1/2 in. across. Solitary plants allowed to grow to full size develop picturesque character, with shaggy, gray-brown, muscular-looking trunks that twist and curve gracefully amd reach 2 ft. across at the base. Handsome branches range out from the trunk and carry canopies of finely textured foliage; some weeping branches hang down from the foliage canopies. To make a windbreak, screen, or clipped hedge, set the plants 3–6 ft. apart, depending on the ultimate size of the selection.

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