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Kunzea ericioides, Kanuka & Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka
Kanuka Kunzea robusta
Kanuka grows to 5-7 metres or more in height.
It will grow in full sun or semi-shade.
Kanuka is faster growing and taller growing than Manuka.
Kanuka has white flowers 4-5 mm, which appears in abundance once a year in mid summer, and generally there are no seed capsules except briefly in late summer.
Manuka Leptospermum scoparium
Manuka is found throughout New Zealand and probably is one the most common species in New Zealand from wetland, coastal and lowland forest.
It is a shrub growing to 3-4 metres and is also fast growing and is one of the first species to come back after land disturbance.
The leaves are very small and prickly to touch where as kanuka leaves are soft to touch.
Manuka has hard woody seed capsules that remain on the plant for a year or more after flowering.
Manuka is comparatively short lived, generally to about 60 years. As the stand approaches this age there is progressive breakdown of the canopy as individual manuka die. This allows seedlings of other native species to come through.
Important distinctions between Kanuka and Manuka
Kanuka and manuka are successional species, which dominate key parts in the series or succession of vegetation types, which follow the colonizing of a new site
Both manuka and kanuka are used as a nurse crop with other early colonizing plants for revegetation / restoration planting and are also very effective in erosion control.
Both are grown from fresh seed and will germinate within a month of sowing.
Please note - When planting either species be aware that they don’t tolerate any root disturbance.
The status of both species is not threatened, though some stands are at risk from clearance for farmland or through felling for firewood.