Open the Advanced Search

Labrador Tea

Rhododendron groenlandicum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
3 metres tall
Bogs, gardens, mountains, wetland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Terminal clusters of tiny, creamy-white, star-shaped to tubular flowers. Flowers are 8 to 16mm in size. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a capsule.
Oblong to oval, short-stalked, untoothed leaves. The dark green leaves also have inrolled margins and are wrinkly on their upper surfaces. The undersides of the leaves are rusty in colour. Leaves measure up to 6cm long.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Bog Labrador Tea, Hudson's Bay Tea, Muskeg Tea, Swamp Tea.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Rhododendron groenlandicum, commonly known as Labrador tea, is a species of evergreen shrub that is native to North America, specifically in Canada and Alaska. It typically grows to about 1 to 3 meters in height and has glossy, dark green leaves. It produces small, white or pink flowers that bloom in early summer. Labrador tea is known for its strong, spicy-sweet aroma and is often used as an ornamental plant. It is also used in traditional medicine as a natural remedy for colds, flu, and other respiratory conditions. The leaves of the plant contain an essential oil that is toxic to some animals if consumed in large amounts, which makes it an effective pest control. It is also used as a traditional drink by native people.


Labrador Tea, also known as Rhododendron groenlandicum, is a type of evergreen shrub found in the subarctic and boreal regions of North America. It's a slow-growing plant and is often found in damp, marshy areas and on the shores of lakes and streams. Despite its name, Labrador Tea is not related to tea and is not used to make tea.

Labrador Tea is known for its fragrant, aromatic leaves which have been used for centuries by indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes. The leaves have a strong, pungent smell that is reminiscent of peppermint or wintergreen. They contain compounds such as terpenoids, tannins, and volatile oils that give it its characteristic aroma and medicinal properties.

One of the most interesting aspects of Labrador Tea is its use as a natural insect repellent. The leaves are crushed and made into a tea that is used to repel mosquitoes, black flies, and other insects. It's an all-natural alternative to synthetic insecticides and is safer for the environment and for people who use it.

In addition to its insect-repelling properties, Labrador Tea has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. Indigenous peoples used it to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, digestive problems, and skin conditions. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, making it a useful remedy for a range of health issues.

Despite its many benefits, Labrador Tea is not widely used or well-known today. However, as people become more interested in natural remedies and seek out alternative treatments, this plant is gaining recognition as a valuable resource.

Labrador Tea is an intriguing plant with a long history of use for medicinal and practical purposes. Its strong, aromatic leaves have been used for centuries as an insect repellent and for treating a range of health problems. With its growing popularity, this plant is sure to attract more attention in the future, and we look forward to learning more about its many benefits.

Labrador Tea can be found in the wild in Northern America and is commonly found in Canada and Alaska. It's a hardy plant that grows in cold and wet conditions, making it an ideal choice for gardens in colder climates. It's easy to care for and can be grown from seed or from cuttings.

The plant is also prized for its ornamental value, with its small white flowers appearing in late spring or early summer, and its glossy green leaves that persist throughout the year. Its attractive foliage makes it a popular choice for landscaping, and it can be used as a ground cover, an accent plant, or a specimen plant.

Another important benefit of Labrador Tea is its ability to provide habitat and food for wildlife. It's a valuable food source for moose, caribou, and other mammals, and its dense growth provides cover for small mammals and birds.

Labrador Tea is also used as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions, including colds and flu, digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory problems. It's also used to boost the immune system and improve overall health.

When harvesting Labrador Tea, it's important to do so in a sustainable manner. The plant is slow-growing and it can take several years for it to reach maturity. It's important to only harvest what you need and to avoid over-harvesting, which can have a negative impact on the plant's growth and ability to regenerate.

Labrador Tea is a fascinating and useful plant that is gaining recognition for its many benefits. Its attractive foliage, ornamental value, and medicinal properties make it an ideal choice for gardens and natural remedies. With its growing popularity, it's likely that we will learn even more about the many benefits of this plant in the future.

One unique aspect of Labrador Tea is its ability to tolerate and grow in extremely acidic soils. This makes it an ideal choice for areas with soil that is too acidic for other plants to grow, such as peat bogs and swamps. The plant is able to absorb and detoxify harmful substances such as heavy metals and pollutants, making it an important part of the ecosystem in these areas.

In addition to its environmental benefits, Labrador Tea also has cultural significance. Indigenous peoples in North America have used the plant for centuries, and its leaves have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions. The plant is also used in traditional spiritual practices, and its leaves have been used to make smudge sticks for purification ceremonies.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of Labrador Tea as a natural remedy for various health problems. The plant contains compounds such as terpenoids, tannins, and volatile oils that are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. These compounds may help to soothe sore throats, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system.

When using Labrador Tea as a natural remedy, it's important to follow recommended dosages and to consult with a healthcare provider before using it as a substitute for conventional medicine. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the plant, so it's important to be cautious and to seek medical attention if you experience any adverse effects.

In conclusion, Labrador Tea is a remarkable plant with a wide range of benefits. Its ability to tolerate extreme conditions and its use as a natural remedy make it an important part of the ecosystem and cultural heritage. With its growing popularity, it's likely that we will continue to learn more about the many benefits of this fascinating plant.