Tea Tree Essential Oil is a colorless to pale yellow-green liquid with a strong, medicinal scent, vaguely resembling a mixture or cypress and juniper. Growing to a height of 25 feet, the tea tree is the smallest tree or shrub in the melaleuca family. Native to Australia, the tree produces small, needle-like leaves and yellow or people flowers. The name melaleuca is derived from the Greek words melas, which means "black," and leukos, which means "white." This refers to the contrast between the black-looking green leaves and the pale, paper-thin bark. The common name originates in the 1700s when Captain Cook and his crew used the fragrant leaves in hot water, as a substitute for tea. Extensively used by the Australian Aboriginals, the tea tree's easily peeled and water-resistant bark was a popular material for building knife sheaths, roof thatching, and canoes. The Aboriginals also recognized the healing powers and medicinal benefits of Tea Tree Essential Oil and used it for treating wounds and combating infection and disease.