Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Tale of Two Tea Trees


A Tale of two Tea Trees at Tea Tree Bay

One of the beautiful beaches
on the headland in the national park
is named after the native Tea Tree...

But which Tea Tree?
You see there are two Tea trees ...

This gnarly old grandad of a tree
is a Melaleuca - a tea tree,
commonly called a paper bark

for this reason

and it is from the Melaleuca
that tea tree oil is obtained
Tea Tree oil is both a fungicide and an anti-biotic.

Tea Tree oil is good for tinnia.
Hands up those with tinnia...

When son#2 went to the school camp at Googa
he took with him a bottle of Tea Tree oil.
Unfortunately in transit the bottle broke
filling his toilet bag with oil.

Now Tea tree oil has
a very strong and pungent odour
somewhat akin to deep heat
and for the month of the camp
son#2 had to clean his teeth
with a brush that never lost
its Tea tree aroma or flavour.

I can't recall
the status of the untreated tinnia
after one month of camp...

The other Tea tree is Leptospermum
which comes in a variety of shrubby forms.

It is from the Leptospermum
that the rain water
running in little streams
through the forest and into the ocean
obtains a brown colour resembling black tea.

It is said that Captain Cook, on the Endeavour,
when voyaging to the Southern Lands
boiled the leaves of the Leptospermum
to brew a Vitamin C rich beverage
to ward off scurvy in his crew.

But now the question remains...
After which tree is Tea Tree Bay named?

And the answer...

I don't know
but would imagine that because
of the large stands of paper barks
in the bay
it is likely to be the Melaleuca,

but then again
when it rains the tea coloured run off
rushes down the hillsides in little rivulets
merging into a stream which exits the forest
and empties into the ocean
at Tea Tree..

so it could be the Leptospermums
that give the bay its name...

But whatever the origins of the name,
because there is only walking access,
it is a beautiful, peaceful bay
as they all are in the Noosa National Park...



  1. Maybe, if I follow your blog I'll get to be a bit more cluey about the native flora!

  2. Hello RR


    I'm learning too...

    Happy days

  3. Good evening Delwyn,i have some man/woman force looking into the story of tea tree bay from which species it got the name,i can hear the discussion from my room,phone calls will be made so when I have some news I let you know.
    i absolutely love the tea tree lakes and the look of the paper bark is just stunning!
    have a nice evening xxx Mona

  4. Mona
    really - you have people on to it????


  5. Delwyn ,we are having aboriginal guests staying over and I was just curious what there story on the bay would be...they are desert decedents so a bit different huh...we had fun going trough possibility!Thanks for the entertainment,The butchala and gabi gabi tribe will know more about the bay's story.
    xxx Mona

  6. Hi Mona

    Sounds like you had some good dinner conversation... I will ask around. Maybe the Noosa Parks Assoc will know...
    Thanks for the help

    Happy Days

  7. I checked and it seems the Aborigenes chew the young leaves of Melaleuca to fight headache. I liked the fact that Mona has aboriginal guests staying at her place.

  8. hey delwyn, for a while i brushed my teeth with toothpaste that contained tea tree oil. it wasn't bad actually! it seems to be appearing in all sorts of products. i was interested to see that captain cook used it to ward off scurvy...... steven

  9. Very interesting post. I love tea tree oil for cleaning and sanitising.

  10. Hi there MofR

    That's an interesting comment -strong flavour!
    Yes Mona's friends tried to help out...but are not from tribes in this area.

    Happy days

  11. Hi Steven,

    Yes I have seen some toothpaste with tea tree oil too.

    The tea tree with the VC is the other tree - the leptospermum.... It gets confusing...

    Happy days

  12. Hi Natalie,
    Do you have cleaning products with tea tree or do you add it ?

    Happy days

  13. Just the other day Ruslan broke my bottle with tea-tree oil in the bathroom and I thought I would have to evacuate for a few days--the smell was so strong! Luckily, it was a small quantity...

  14. Is the water in the bay tea-colored? And, does the water have any strange effect on those who drink it?

  15. I love seeing flora and fauna that I'm unfamiliar with. This morning I was walking around my garden, thinking of all the plants that I can name now . . . but couldn't name just two years ago!

    As I get older, I find that I really WANT to know the names of plants and trees and birds.

    Tea tree oil is one of the first things I would think of if asked to name an Australian export. I love its smell.

  16. Delwyn the trees are so magical. I love trees wherever they are.

    I wonder how your son's teeth were affected by that tea tree oil, I wonder if it made them stronger.

    Love Renee xoxo

  17. Interesting! I had never seen a tea tree, in fact I never gave a second thought to the fact that there is a tea TREE oil even though I never suspected such a thing as tea tree existed :-)

    the beach looks wonderful...

  18. Fascinating information, Delwyn. I've learned so much from your post again. Do you do much research for each of these posts, or do you know many of these things already?

    You should write a book. With all this information and your beautiful photos and your poetic way with words - it would be gorgeous!

  19. Hi Angela,
    Thank you for your kind comments.

    For this post I knew the background and just had to check out which tea tree was the oil one.

    In other posts I often I build on my scant knowledge by finding the scientific name or some extra interesting tidbits.

    I print out my blog and send selected parts to my parents in NZ. My husband suggested I print it out and it is nice to have in a hard copy although I now have two lever arch files full and have only been blogging since late Jan!

    Happy Days

  20. Hi Polly,

    Well now you know the origins of tea tree oil...

    Happy Days

  21. Hi Renee,

    well I don't know...
    He has only one filling and is 27 so maybe it did!!!

    Happy Days

  22. Hi Bee,
    I am just like you and have bought the guide to native plants in my area. After each walk I see if I can identify the plants I have photographed and I love to notice that I can name more as I walk too.

    I also bought a bird book and often stop on the walks and try to detect where the trilling is coming from - people stare at this odd lady who peers up into the trees with an expectant look on her face! But she is thoroughly enjoying herself...

    Happy Days

  23. Hello Rosaria,

    Every time it rains heavily the river in front of my house turns to tea as the run off from higher up the floodplain enters the river and flows down to the sea.
    The ocean does get stained around the river mouth and the areas such as tea tree where the streams enter the ocean.

    I wouldn't like to try the run off water - it looks rather smelly and brackish. My river being tidal is also brackish - the dog didn't drink it! But apparently the leptospermum leaves boiled can make a VC tea.

    Happy Days

  24. Hi Jelica,

    So you will know exactly how my poor boy felt every day when he opened his toilet bag to retrieve his toothbrush... I hope he threw that bag away...I must ask him...This is one of those family stories that we can sit around over dinner and laugh about...

    Happy days

  25. Would the scribbly paper bark tree be the same family? I came across a lot of them on Fraser Island.

  26. Hi Scintilla,

    The scribbly tree is the SCRIBBLY GUM...I wrote a post on him on May 11, if you are interested flick back there for the story on the ogmograptis moth... it is fascinating...

    Happy Days


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