Manuka or tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium, is a New Zealand plant which has pretty and conspicuous flowers - most of our plants have rather subtle and inconspicuous flowers. I have seen hillsides of white-flowered manuka plants flowering so profusely it looked like snow had fallen, and this was in the subtropical north where snow is never seen! Manuka honey is another happy result - it tastes great and has considerable medicinal value, helping healing of skin and gastric ulcers. Pretty and practical - could it get better? Well, yes - gardeners are always looking for "improved" plants, and many Leptospermum cultivars have been developed with differences in flower and plant forms which satisfy this plant-acquisition itch. Alas, some cultivars are not readily available. As I understand it, Warwick Harris crossed a small prostrate form of the Tasmanian subalpine species Leptospermum rupestre with 'Huia' a dwarf cultivar of the NZ species L. scoparium. One result was this dwarf prostrate form Leptospermum 'Lilliput', but it was not taken up for commercial release.
Leptospermum 'Lilliput' - a tiny treasure, perfect for a rockery or pot culture. My plant is barely 10cm tall, generous in production of pretty pink flowers. I was lucky to get it from Hokonui Alpines, another treasure - Peter Salmond's specialist nursery that helps to maintain the diversity of plants available for gardeners and plant-lovers to tend and enjoy.