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LEDUM palustre

Image of Ledum palustre

Jesse Saylor

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

LEDUM palustre

Plant Common Name

Marsh Labrador Tea, Muskeg Tea, Wild Rosemary

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Circumboreal in origin, wild rosemary is a plant of the Northern latitudes, bringing white blossoms to rocky terrain normally cloaked in lichen and moss. More prostrate in habit with some upright but spreading stems, this small mounding shrub is native to lands around the North Pole, including northern Europe and Siberia, and Greenland, Canada and Alaska in North America. Plants are usually buried under snow in winter and grow and bloom in the short summer when snow has fully melted away.

The stems are grayish brown to salmon in color at their tips where covered in dense hairs. They have small green leaves with tightly rolled edges so that they almost look needle-like. In summer the stem tips bear a dome-shaped cluster of tiny white flowers, each with five petals. In autumn the foliage becomes reddened before falling away. Plants growing in the harshest, coldest and wind-swept polar landscapes are usually more prostrate and mat-forming in habit, belonging to the variety decumbens.

Plant wild rosemary in full sun to partially shaded locations in a cool landscape with acidic soils that are moist but rich in peat and compost. Gravelly nooks in hillsides or stream courses are a charming way to display this shrub, especially if tucked in among clumps of natural moss. Or, place in a cool part of the rockery or heather garden. It tolerates seasonally soggy soils, those that mimic the shallow ground-surface floods after the snow melts in mid-spring.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    5 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 5

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Width

    24"-32" / 61.0cm - 81.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    North America, Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, Russia/Siberia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Cushion/Mound-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Sienna, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No