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Mystery tree

CAN you please identify this tree which was in the garden when I moved here? Its leaves look a bit like a bottlebrush and in winter the new foliage turns a nice reddishbrown. The bark is rough, and over Christmas it looks a picture with masses of small, white, manuka-like flowers. A friend reckons it's one of those Aussie escapees!


FROM your photo it looks like you have a fine specimen of one of the Australian tea trees, Leptospermum nitidum 'Copper Sheen'.

The late Mike Geenty, who for many years managed the parks nursery at Hamilton City Council, imported seed from overseas of many interesting plants and I believe this is one he selected from a batch of seedlings due to its superior foliage colour, propagated it from cuttings and named it 'Copper Sheen'. It has proved to be a great garden plant in many parts of the country, growing well in most soil types and requiring little in the way of care and attention.

Like most other tea trees, you can leave it to reach its full potential as a medium-sized tree or trim it into an attractive hedge. And in my experience it doesn't seem to be as susceptible to attack by scale, which can cause the unsightly sooty mould so common on some other tea trees.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 178, 2005, Page 32

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005