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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Ledum groenlandicum (Bog labrador tea)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Ledum groenlandicum

Ledum groenlandicum Oeder

Bog Labrador tea, Rusty labrador-tea, Muskeg tea, Hudson's Bay tea, Labrador tea

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Ledum palustre ssp. groenlandicum, Ledum palustre var. latifolium, Rhododendron groenlandicum

USDA Symbol: LEGR

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

A low, evergreen shrub with densely hairy twigs and rounded, terminal clusters of white flowers. Rusty labrador-tea is a small, globular, broadleaf evergreen shrub, to 3 ft. tall, with a picturesque habit created by many erect stems and upright, spreading branches. The smooth, slightly cracked, bark is coppery-orange to reddish-brown. Thick, glossy, narrowly elliptic leaves are aromatic. Upright, bell-shaped flowers comprise flat-topped, terminal clusters.

This northern shrub, typical of acidic, boggy areas, can easily be recognized by the woolly brown undersurfaces of its leaves. A tea can be made from the leaves, as was done during the American Revolution. In northern Canada, the plant is known as Hudsonís Bay Tea.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Gray-Green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug

Distribution

USA: AK , CT , ID , MA , ME , MI , MN , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , SD , VT , WA , WI
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Lab. to AK, s. to PA, n.e. OH, MI, n.e. MN, c. Sask. & n.w. OR
Native Habitat: Peat bogs; cold, damp woods; wet shores

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Acid, wet to moist organic soils, peats & mucks.
Conditions Comments: Ledum groenlandicum is a slow-growing, short-lived shrub that demands acid soil. Occasional anthracnose is the only disease or pest problem. It is a very flood tolerant plant.

Benefit

Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if eaten. Symptoms include salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma. Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Northern Blue butterfly (Lycaeides idas)

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Ledum groenlandicum is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Northern Blue
(Plebejus idas)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Description: Layers and fall-collected cuttings can be used for propagation. Seeds should be sown on shaded peat moss. There is no dormancy and germination takes 2-3 weeks.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC OBL FACW OBL OBL OBL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ledum groenlandicum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ledum groenlandicum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ledum groenlandicum

Metadata

Record Modified: 2010-11-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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