Labrador tea (Thermopsis rhombifolia)

Labrador tea (Thermopsis rhombifolia)
Also known as: Ledum groenlandicum


Bloom time: June – July

Additional photos:

General: This erect evergreen shrub, up to 1 m tall, often forms colonies.

Leaves & Twigs:

  • The leathery, narrow, oblong leaves are about 2-5 cm long, with rusty matted hairs on the underside (new leaves have white hairs underneath). The edges of the leaves roll under to help retain moisture.
  • New twigs are densely covered with brown hairs; old stems become reddish-brown to grey.

Flowers & Fruits: Five-petalled, white flowers, about 1 cm across, occur in rounded clusters at the branch tips.

Habitat: Shade-intolerant and often found on moist to wet soils, Labrador tea is common on open peatland dominated by sphagnum moss and in open-canopy coniferous forests.

PlantWatch Pointers: Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants.

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Historically, the leaves of Labrador tea were hung in closets to repel moths, as well as ghosts.