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Marsh Labrador tea
R. tomentosum in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species: R. tomentosum
Binomial name
Rhododendron tomentosum

Ledum palustre

Rhododendron tomentosum (syn. Ledum palustre), commonly known as Marsh Labrador tea, northern Labrador tea or wild rosemary, is a flowering plant in the subsection Ledum of the large genus Rhododendron in the family Ericaceae.



It is a low shrub growing to 50 cm (rarely up to 120 cm) tall with evergreen leaves 12-50 mm long and 2-12 mm broad. The flowers are small, with a five-lobed white corolla, and produced several together in a corymb 3-5 cm diameter. They emit strong smell to attract bees and other pollinating insects.


In North America it is found growing in northern latitudes in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, in Europe in the northern and central parts, and in Asia south to northern China, Korea and Japan. It grows in peaty soils, shrubby areas, moss and lichen tundra.

Chemical compounds

All parts of the plant contain poisonous terpenes that affect central nervous system, causing aggressive behaviour. First symptoms of overdosage are dizziness and disturbances in movement, followed by spasms, nausea and unconsciousness. The mere smell of the plant may cause headache to some people.


This species is not to be confused with the traditionally-used one Rhododendron groenlandicum, found essentially in the Labrador region in Canada (where its name comes from).



Medicinal uses

For traditional uses in herbal medicine, see Labrador tea.

This considered to be a homeopathic anti-tetanus vaccine. This is a specific remedy for puncture wounds produced by sharp-pointed instruments or bites.

Other uses

Marsh Labrador tea has traditionally been used as a gruit in brewing beer in the Middle Ages. Due to its strong fragrance, it has also formerly been used as a natural anti-moth (for Clothing Moth) in Scandinavia.

External links and references


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Rhododendron tomentosum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Unassigned Asterids
Ordo: Ericales
Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Ericoideae
Tribus: Rhodoreae
Genus: Rhododendron
Subgenus: R. subg. Rhododendron
Sectio: R. sect. Rhododendron
Species: Rhododendron tomentosum


Rhododendron tomentosum Harmaja

[syn. Ledum palustre L.]


  • Acta Botanica Fennica 27:204. 1990
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Vernacular names

Dansk: Mose-Post
Deutsch: Porst
Eesti: Sookail
English: Marsh Labrador Tea
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Rhododendron tomentosum on Wikimedia Commons.


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