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.
It has been a catastrophic year for the tea tree industry. The worst recorded drought hit the plantations and is still hindering growth. Not just tea tree but growth of almost all crops have been adversely impacted. Compounding the problem is the challenge of bushfires with many farms reporting complete burning down of plants. Though it is early to confirm, several farms have been struggling. Some, which have not been negatively affected by bush fires, have implemented irrigation under management to offset the effects of the drought in an effort to continue with their production cycles. At present, there is no stock available. Demand has been considerably low for some months, and consequently, stock movement has been low.
To ask us a fair quote for this product, please fill the following form: