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Ledum groenlandicum - Oeder.

Common Name Labrador Tea, Bog Labrador tea
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Plants contain a narcotic toxin called Ledel. This toxin only causes problems if the leaves are cooked for a long period in a closed container[172].
Habitats Cold bogs and montane coniferous woods[4, 50].
Range Eastern and Northern N. America to Greenland. A rare garden escape in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Ledum groenlandicum Labrador Tea, Bog Labrador tea


http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingsbraegarden/
Ledum groenlandicum Labrador Tea, Bog Labrador tea
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 677.

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Ledum groenlandicum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1.5 m (5ft). It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

L. latifolium. L. pacificum. L. palustre groenlandicum. (Oeder.)Hulten.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

A fragrant and soothing tea is made from the leaves[2, 4, 95, 102, 172]. The spicy leaves make a very palatable and refreshing tea[183]. The North American Indians would often flavour this tea with the roots of liquorice fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza[256]. When lemon is added they can be used as iced tea[183]. The leaves were once added to beer in order to make it heady[183]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. It would be better to brew the tea in cold water by leaving it in a sunny place, or to make sure that it is brewed for a short time only in an open container. The leaves are used as a flavouring, they are a bayleaf substitute[172].

Medicinal Uses

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Analgesic  Birthing aid  Blood purifier  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Kidney  Narcotic  Parasiticide  
Pectoral  Poultice  Salve  Tonic

Labrador tea was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints[257]. In modern herbalism it is occasionally used externally to treat a range of skin problems. The leaves are analgesic, blood purifier, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and tonic[4, 172, 222, 257]. A tea is taken internally in the treatment of headaches, asthma, colds, stomach aches, kidney ailments etc[222, 257]. Externally, it is used as a wash for burns, ulcers, itches, chapped skin, stings, dandruff etc[222, 238, 257]. An ointment made from the powdered leaves or roots has been used to treat ulcers, cracked nipples, burns and scalds[257]. The plant is apparently a mild narcotic, it was taken by Indian women three times daily shortly before giving birth[207]

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Other Uses

Dye  Insecticide  Parasiticide  Repellent  Tannin

The leaves are hung up in the clothes cupboard in order to repel insects[4]. The branches are also placed among grain in order to keep mice away[4]. A strong decoction of the leaves, or a tincture, is used to kill lice, mosquitoes, fleas and other insects[4, 207, 238]. The leaves contain tannin[4]. A brown dye is obtained from the plant[257].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Requires a lime-free loam or peaty soil[1, 11]. Prefers a moist humus-rich acid soil in shade or semi-shade[200]. Plants flower more freely when grown in a sunny position. Plants grow better if they have certain fungal associations in the soil. The best way of providing this is to incorporate some soil from around well-growing established plants into the soil for the new plant[200]. Hardy to at least -15°c[200]. The leaves and the flowers are very aromatic[182, 245]. Plants benefit from removing the dead flowers before they set seed[188]. This prevents them putting too much energy into seed production at the expense of more flowers and leaves. This species is considered by some botanists to be no more than a sub-species of L. palustre[11, 50]. A good bee plant[4].

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Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a shady part of the greenhouse in February or March[78, 113]. Another report says that the seed is best sown in the autumn as soon as it is ripe[188]. Germination is variable and can be quite slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the pots on in a shady frame for 18 months before planting them out into their permanent positions[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. Fair percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood, November/December in a frame[113]. Layering in the autumn. Takes 12 months[78]. Division.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ledum columbianumLabrador teaShrub1.0 0-0  LMHFSM21 
Ledum glandulosumLabrador Tea, Western Labrador teaShrub1.5 0-0  LMHFSNM21 
Ledum palustreWild Rosemary, Marsh Labrador teaShrub1.0 0-0  LMHFSNMWe23 

 

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Expert comment

Author

Oeder.

Botanical References

1150200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Lou   Sun Mar 30 2008

Ledum groenlandicum... are you supposed to dry the laevs before making tea or should you pick and put in fresh? Any info is welcome! Thank You!

evemendenhall   Tue Feb 17 2009

leaves should be dried and sepparated from the berry and the stem before brewing.

Sarah Roland   Wed Nov 4 2009

You need to have where the Labrador Tea plants are mainly located!!!!!!!

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