Plant Data Sheet


Labrador tea, Ledum groenlandicum

photo credit: UW Library Digital Collection, Plants of Western Washington Collection


Alaska to Oregon in the western United States, east across Canada and Greenland, northern great lake states, and New England (Coladonato, 1993)


Climate, elevation:

Tundra and boreal climates, low elevation to mid elevation in Cascade mountains, higher elevation in Northern Rockies (Coladonato, 1993)


Local occurrence:

Somewhat uncommon due to reduction of habitat.


Habitat preferences:

Sphagnum bogs, muskegs and tundra, with low nutrients and low flow of subsurface water. Can tolerate range from wet to dry. Can tolerate some shade. (Coladonato, 1993)

Also in forested or shrub swamps, but generally intolerant of shade (Cooke, 1997)

Wet, stable, interdunal wetlands on the coast of Oregon (Franklin and Dyrness, 1988)

Wet to very wet soil, low in nitrogen, shade intolerant (Klinka et al, 1995)


Plant strategy type/successional stage:

Stress tolerator. Seral species in woodland understory, dominant species in open bogs (Coladonato, 1993)

Reported to naturally recolonize disturbed powerline corridors in boreal bogs (Coladonato, 1993), and was recommended for use in reclamation of following peat-mining projects (Famous and Spencer, 1989).


Associated species:

Kalmia microphylla , Vaccinium oxycoccus, Sphagnum spp., Cladonia sp. (Coladonato, 1993)

Thuja plicata, Pinus contorta (Franklin and Dyrness, 1988)


May be collected as:

Seed (Schultz et al, 2001)

naturally reproduces from rhizomes or seed (Coladonato, 1993)


Collection restrictions or guidelines:

Flowers May through June, fruits ripen August through fall (Coladonato, 1993)

Seed is an elliptical capsule (Schultz et al, 2001)

Seed germination:

not found


Seed life:

store up to 3 years (Schultz et al, 2001)


Recommended seed storage conditions:

Cool dry, refrigerator or cool garage (Schultz et al, 2001)


Propagation recommendations:

The following protocol for cuttings is from, Schultz et al, (2001) working in Michigan:

Macerate by hand with sieve to remove pulp immediately after collection, and separate pulp from seed by floating pulp

Dry seeds for one week

Sow into plug trays with the following cell dimensions: 2" diameter by 4" depth

Plug trays are filled with moistened and firmed media (see below)

Sow one seed per cell, cover with thin layer of soil

Sown at all times of year due to unpredictable germination

Watered using mist, no additional light, no fertilizers

Greenhouse conditions set for 65° F day and night January through August, summer highs may reach 100° F

September through December greenhouse set to 55°F but may reach 75°F

Plants are hardened off in outdoor cold frame, reduce water, and protect from frost and sun-scorching


Soil or medium requirements:

Scotts Redi-earth Plug and Seedling mix (vermiculite/sphagnum peat moss) (Schultz et al, 2001)


Installation form:

Plugs (Schultz et al, 2001)


Recommended planting density:

not found


Care requirements after installed:

install into acid bogs, conifer swamps, moist conifer woods and peaty soil (Schultz et al, 2001)

Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan:

Slow, long-lived


Sources cited:

Coladonato, Milo. 1993. Ledum groenlandicum. In: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (2003, May). Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. Available:

[accessed May 12, 2003].


Cooke, Sarah Spear. 1997 A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington & Northwestern Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, WA 415 p.

Famous, Norman C.; Spencer, M. 1989. Revegetation patterns in mined peatlands in central and eastern North America studied. Restoration and Management Notes. 7(2): 95-96.

Franklin, Jerry and C.T. Dyrness. 1988 Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Oregon State University Press, Corvalis, OR 452 p.

Klinka, K., V.J Krajina, A. Ceska, and A.M Scagel. 1995 Indicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia. UBC Press Vancouver B.C. 288p

Schultz, Jan; Beyer, Patty; Williams, Julie. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of container Ledum groenlandicum Oeder plants; Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette, Michigan. In: Native Plant Network. URL: (accessed 14 May 2003). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.


Data compiled by:

Matthew Ramsay, May 12, 2003