Mānuka is a shrub or small tree species that can grow up to 4-5 meters tall. It has small, narrow leaves prickly to the touch and flowers, usually white or pink.
Mānuka is found throughout New Zealand and is particularly common in scrubland, forests, and waterways. It is known for its ability to thrive in various soil types, including poor and acidic soils.
Mānuka is an important plant in Māori culture and is used in traditional medicine, particularly for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The wood and bark of mānuka were also used for various tools and implements.
Mānuka is an important component of many New Zealand ecosystems and provides habitat and food for various bird and insect species. Its flowers are essential for bees, which produce manuka honey from nectar.
Tūī: Tūī are medium-sized honeyeaters known for their iridescent plumage and melodious songs. They often feed on the nectar of Mānuka flowers.
Silvereye: small passerine birds with a distinctive white eye ring. They may forage for insects among the Mānuka foliage.
Kākāriki: Kākāriki, or parakeets, are colourful parrots that may visit Mānuka trees. They may feed on Mānuka's nectar and also forage for insects and seeds.
Bellbirds: medium-sized songbirds known for their melodious and bell-like calls. They are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Mānuka trees.
Rifleman: Rifleman, are one of New Zealand's smallest bird species. They may visit Mānuka trees in search of insects and small invertebrates.
Pipipi: Pipipi are tiny birds known for their melodious song. They may forage for insects among the foliage of Mānuka trees.
Kingfisher: Kingfishers are small birds with vibrant blue and orange plumage. They are often seen near water bodies where Mānuka trees may grow.
Stitchbirds: medium-sized birds with striking plumage. They may visit Mānuka trees for nectar and also consume insects and fruits.
Tomtit: Tomtits are small birds with distinctive markings. They forage on Mānuka trees' trunks and branches for insects and spiders.
Pīwakawaka: Pīwakawaka, or Fantails, are agile birds known for their fan-shaped tail and friendly behaviour. They can often be spotted in Mānuka trees, catching insects on the wing.
Mānuka is not considered to be a threatened species.
Mānuka is a resilient species that are not currently threatened, but it is important to be mindful of the impacts of land use change and development on the ecosystems where it grows. Sustainable land management practices, such as erosion control and reforestation, can help to protect and restore manuka habitats. Additionally, supporting sustainable production and consumption of manuka honey can help ensure this valuable resource is not overexploited.