Obtained by steam distillation from foliage and terminal branchlets of Melaleuca alternifolia.
Tea tree grows in both New South Wales and Northern Queensland, almost entirely in modern day plantations. Some wild harvesting still occurs but this only contributes a small amount of the 650+ MT that Australia produces annually.
The industry is well regulated and as the original producer of tea tree, Australia standards are highly regarded as the best quality. The harvest period starts in May and lasts until November.
From seed to harvest usually takes around 12-15 months and trees will grow to around 2 metres high. The tree is then cut from just above the ground and the leaves are steam distilled in a process that takes around 1.5-2.0 hours per batch of around 250 kilos. Tea tree will regenerate quickly and over the next 2-3 years will yield higher levels of oil each year and establish a stronger root network ensuring it becomes more resilient to adverse weather conditions. Some more mature trees can yield higher levels of 1,8-cineole, which is undesirable so re-planting can occur every 6-7 years however the tree itself could live over 25 years.
Read more about this amazing essential oil by clicking on our Elementary Essential Oil link in the sidebar.
2019 and 2020 seem to be testing the sheer tenacity of the Australian farming community with numerous problems one after another. The savage wildfires that ravaged land and life have gone down in the annals of history. The bushfires blazed for months and eventually died out but left scorched wastelands in its wake. Tea tree being a hardy plant, withstood the onslaught of the fires but was soon lashed by the torrential rains in February. Several of the tea tree farms were flooded though it was contained in many others. Following this debacle, the plants were infected by the plague of pyrgo beetle which left many of the crops damaged. Ground realities were far different from crop estimates and production forecast predicted a steep decline of 40% compared to the previous year.
Traditionally, May to November marks the harvest season. But the industry, riding on the hopes of a robust crop, commenced harvesting earlier. It was limping back to some semblance of normality when the world was pushed into disarray due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There are hardly any carryover stocks and heightened demand has put pressure on the increased supply.
To ask us a fair quote for this product, please fill the following form: