Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Labrador Tea

A genus of shrubs that is closely related to the Rhododendrons and even considered species of Rhododendrons by some botanists. A mildly stimulating, bitter tea can be made from steeping the dried leaves for 12 to 15 minutes. Tea can be made from all species of Ledum.

Ledum columbianum ( Trappers Tea )
Also called Ledum glandulosum or Coastal Labrador Tea. A rhizomatous, small,evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 6.5 x 6 ( rarely over 3 x 3 ) feet, that is native to western North America ( from near Williams Lake in central British Columbia to extreme southwest Alberta to central Montana to central Wyoming; south to central California to northern Nevada to southern Utah to western Colorado ). A great plant for the rock garden or bog garden, it is extremely cold hardy and can thrive even in central Alaska.
The oppositely-arranged, small, elliptical oval leaves are up to 3.2 x 1.2 ( rarely over 2 ) inches in size. The aromatic, foliage is glossy deep green above, downy white to tawny-brown beneath.
The fragrant, small, white flowers are borne on clusters of up to 35 during late spring into mid-summer.
Hardy zones 2 to 6 in full sun to partial shade on humus-rich, moist soil.

* photo taken by W. Carl Taylor @ USDA NRCS. 1992. Western wetland flora

* photo taken by Jean Pawek @ CalPhotos

* photo taken by http://www.nwplants.com

Ledum decumbens ( Northern Labrador Tea )
Also called L. palustre decumbens. Native Americans burned this plant in sweat lodges and the fumes can be inhaled for narcotic effect. It forms a creeping shrub that is native to northern North America ( from far northern Alaska to Baffin Island to northern Quebec, Labrador and Greenland; south into far northern British Columbia to far northern Ontario. It is also native to bogs and open coniferous woods in northern Europe, eastern Siberia, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Mongolia and Manchuria but is not native to the mainland U.S.
The linear leaves are up to 0.6 inches in length. The foliage is glossy mid-green above, downy white to tawny-brown beneath.
The fragrant flowers are white to pink.
Hardy zones 1 to 3, thriving even in interior Alaska.

Ledum groenlandicum ( Labrador Tea )
Also called Rhododendron groenlandicum. An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 5 ( rarely over 2.5 ) feet, that is native to the boreal forest region of northern North America ( from northern Alaska to far northern Yukon to southern Nunavut to far northern Ontario to northern Quebec to Labrador, Newfoundland and southern Greenland; south to the far northern United States...except absent from the entire Great Plains region ). In the east, it is found as far south as Wisconsin to central Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario to Hamilton, Ontario to northern Pennsylvania to Connecticut ). It is typically found in bogs and acidic open woods in the wild.
The aromatic, oppositely-arranged, narrowly-oblong, leathery leaves are up to 2 x 1 inches in size. The foliage is deep green above, hairy rusty-orange beneath.
The alternately-arranged leaves are often crowded at the tips of the stems.
The fragrant, small, white flowers, up to 0.3 inches wide, are borne on dense, rounded clusters of up to 35 from late spring into mid-summer.
Hardy zones 1 to 6 in full sun to partial shade on humus-rich, moist to wet soil.

* labrador tea in Lions Head, ON


* historic archive photo

Ledum palustre

* historical archive photo

1 comment:

  1. I never had listen nor read about the Labrador Tea. I really like to read about the new things and natural items. The leaves of this Labrador tea are looking quite fresh in the pictures. I will read more about it.