The Bacteria Killing Tree

Tea Tree oil

Melaleuca Alternifolia (Myrtaceae)

Other names: Tea Tree or Ti Tree

The tea tree is native to Australia and is currently still being distributed from the area of its native habitat. It is used all around the world for its various uses as a cleaning and cleansing properties.

Uses and preparation

Originally, this plant was used by the native people of Australia for its antiseptic uses to treat skin infections. Its modern uses include an antiseptic in skin care products, in the perfume industry, and in soaps and mouthwashes. It is also used to treat athlete’s foot, warts, acne all around the world. It is prepared by crushing and bruising the leaves to draw out the essential oils in them. After this, it is distilled many times until it is purified. Terpinen-4-ol, Y-Terpinene and a-Terpinene are three of the highest concentrated compounds of around 98 compounds that make up the tea tree oil and that give it it's anti-microbial properties.

David Knoch

Tea Tree

The tea tree plant ranges from 1 to 7 meters in height with bushy leaves at the top and papery bark. The leaves are hairless and are 10-35 mm long by about 1 mm wide. The leaves have oil glands that are full of aromatic and anti-microbial oil. The plants are almost exclusively grown and harvested in the area around Queensland Australia, however the oil that the plants produce is used all around the world. The plant has been artificially selected to produce up to 90% more oil through the jointly funded Tea Tree Breeding Program funded by ATTIA, RIRDC and DPI. It responds very well to pruning and is cut to ground level every 6-18 months to harvest the essential oil.

Sources (pic 1) I couldn't find the photographer here either. (Pic 2) Couldn't find who the photographer was. Photos are from the Northeast Agricultural services (photo 3)

Growing Tea Trees. (2010, July 29). Retrieved December 3, 2014, from

Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree). (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2014, from

Tea tree oil: MedlinePlus Supplements. (14, August 21). Retrieved December 3, 2014, from