About Manuka Honey

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Mānuka honey is produced by introduced European honey bees (Apis mellifera)foraging on the mānuka or tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) which grows uncultivated throughout New Zealand and southeastern Australia.

Mānuka honey is markedly viscous, having the highest viscosity among a range of honeys.[citation needed] This property is due to the presence of a protein or colloid and is its main visually defining character, along with its typical dark cream to dark brown color. To be labelled New Zealand mānuka honey, at least 70% of its pollen content should come from Leptospermum scoparium.

The mānuka tree flowers at the same time as Kunzea ericoides, another Myrtaceae species also called kānuka, which often shares the same growing areas. Some apiarists cannot readily differentiate these species, as both flowers have similar morphology and pollen differentiation between the two species is difficult. Therefore, melissopalynology as identification for the type of honey is valid only in association with other identification tests. In particular, L. scoparium honey is dark, whereas K. ericoides honey is pale yellow and clear, with a “delicate, sweet, slightly aromatic” aroma and a “sweet, slightly aromatic” flavour, and is not viscous.

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