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Plant identification guides:
Bush tucker food forest

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.


As with all medicinal applications of Australian bush foods, please do your due diligence and consult with First Nations or other Australian herbal specialists before utilising as a remedy for any condition.


Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need preparation before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.


We can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Lemon scented tea tree

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Leptospermum petersonii

Peterson's Tea Tree, Common tea tree, Lemon tea tree, Lemon hedge, Australian rose.



Lemon scented tea tree

Basic info:

  • Leptospermum – derived from the Greek words leptos meaning “fine” or “slender” and sperma which means “seed” referring to the thin brown seeds of the genus.

  • petersonii – named for to W.J. Peterson who collected a specimen on Wilsons Peak on the border of NSW and Queensland in January 1905.

Lemon-scented teatree is well known as a garden plant, popular for its scent and attractiveness – the leaves are highly aromatic with a distinct lemon fragrance when crushed. 

It is a small shrub or tree that grows naturally near wet sclerophyll forest or rainforest on rocky escarpments from Mount Timbeerwah in south-east Queensland to near Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

It grows to about 5 metres tall and to 4 metres wide. The foliage is evergreen and made up of small, narrow, needle-like leaves that are a dark green colour and often strongly-scented. New growth is often tinged with red or purple.

The bark is rough, thin, fibrous and flaky, with a brown to grey colour.

This species is known for its profuse spring and summer blooms of small, white, fluffy flowers that are nectar rich and a favourite of bees and other pollinators. Flowering mainly occurs from December to January. Woody seeds capsules follow the flowering period.

It is commonly grown as an ornamental and is regarded as a minor environmental weed in some areas.

Uses and Interesting Information:

Lemon Tea Tree (Leptospermum petersonii) is from the same plant family as common Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) but has different active components. The oil has all the highly effective antiseptic, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties associated with the tea tree oil itself but with a tangy, refreshing, bright lemon fragrance.

The lemon-scented leaves can be used for teas (leading to the common name), and the oils from the leaves are used for essential oils and scents, often used in candle and soap making as well as perfumery and as medicine.

It is considered to be an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antiseptic. Applications include acne, hand wash, insect repellent, hair care, as a remedy against foot odour, a natural insecticide and as a natural preservative.

Leaves were used by Australian aboriginal tribes for treating open wounds. Freshly crushed leaves were applied directly to the skin, and held in place with a mudpack. (However, some skin types do not react well to the crushed leaves being placed directly onto it. To test, rub a small amount of the leaves on a sensitive part of your skin, e.g. your wrist, and if it doesn’t agree with you, put it in a vase.)[1]

The essential oil has been shown to inhibit Candida and other disease causing fungi, both through direct contact and through vapour.[2]

Captain Cook and his crew tried to make tea-like infusions from it, believing the citrus aroma would prevent scurvy.

It also can be used in cooking, adding a wonderful flavour to seafoods, broths and in baking.

It aids concentration and freshens up a home.

As part of a respiratory blend, Lemon Scented Tea Tree will help to combat coughs and colds. It is recommended for the treatment of oily skin and acne.

Here are some further applications:

  • As a Compress: To promote healthy skin tissue, use the oil in a compress. Put 10 drops of oil in 120ml of water, soak a cloth in the water and wrap on needed area.

  • Scalp Health: The essential oil has great benefits as a scalp cleanser. The pure oil can be irritating to the skin when applied directly, so add a few drops to your favourite shampoo.

  • Fresh Mouth: Diluted in water, the oil can be used as a mouthwash to enhance mouth health. Add 2 drops of tea tree essential oil in 60ml of water and gargle.






  • Recipes to come

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