Tea Tree, Manuka, Jelly Bush
This small tree or large shrub was named Tea Tree after the ‘tea’ drink Captain Cook made from the tree’s fragrant leaves. The plant has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial benefits to humans and birds. Tea tree oil is found in pharmaceutical and bath products, such as shampoo and ointment.
Manuka honey is the most notable and expensive medicinal products from Tea Tree. It is darker and richer in flavor than clover honey and has greater anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits. Methylglyoxal compound gives the honey its healing properties. Try a teaspoon at night to help your sore throat.
Tea Tree wood is hard and tough, and it makes good tool handles. The sawdust from the tree is used to flavor smoked meat and fish.
The flowers are small (8-15mm diam) with 5 petals. Leaves are small (7-20mm) with prickly, grey leaves.
Dendrobiums have canes which are tall, 6-12”, elongated, thick stems. There are two kinds of Dendrobiums, hard-caned and soft-caned. Hard-caned Dendrobiums have their leaves at the upper end or tip of the canes. These plants need bright light and like to be warm, but not baked. Soft-caned Dendrobiums have leaves along the length of the cane.
Starburst, Shooting Star
Starburst is accurately named for its stunning, showy, bursting flowers. It is a tropical and sub-tropical evergreen shrub 12-15’ tall, native to Asia. Starburst is a common ornamental plant in Florida. This February flowering show-stopper has large 8-12” flower heads. The foliage is dark green with a contrasting burgundy underside.
The genus Clerodendron has ethno-medical importance in Asian indigenous medical systems. Extracts of roots, leaves and stems are used for the treatment of typhoid, cancer, jaundice and syphilis.
The Bottlebrush Aloe stands tall above its neighboring aloe plants in the desert house. It is one of the fastest growing tree aloes and can reach a height of 9’. The botanical name Aloe rupestris means ‘growing in rocky places’.
Bottlebrush Aloe’s leaves are curved and grey/green with spectacular red marginal teeth. The bright orange flowers are upright and eye catching. The tubular orange flowers with bright red stamens grow from branched cylindrical racemes.