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Billion trees drive could threaten mānuka industry

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19 Oct: 11:15 |  A government scheme giving away mānuka seedlings could threaten future earnings from the trees according to botanists who say enthusiasm for planting is getting ahead of scientific understanding.

Unitec associate professor Peter de Lange has been researching New Zealand mānuka and suspects there are at least three different types of mānuka in New Zealand, each with possible different properties.

“Mānuka honey as an industry is going to make us quite a lot of money but in fact there are chemical compounds, essential oils in particular, that are way, way more valuable than mānuka honey.”

De Lange said the safest way to ensure qualities are kept is to only plant mānuka where the seeds have been “eco-sourced”. Eco-sourcing means seeds have been sourced from the same area as where seedlings will be planted.

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