Trapper's Tea
Ledum glandulosum

Other names: Glandular Labrador Tea, Western Labrador Tea
Family: Ericaceae, Heath
Genus: Ledum

General: evergreen shrub, mostly 40-80 cm tall, twigs
short-hairy and glandular-dotted.
Leaves: alternate, 1.5-4 cm long, ovate and rounded at
base to oblong-ovate, elliptic-oblong, or elliptic and tapering
to base, deep green on upper surfaces, lighter green and
often grayish, finely mealy-short-hairy, densely glandular
and occasionally short-hairy on the lower surfaces, more or
less with edges rolled under.
Flowers: white, 10-15 mm wide, several in dense,
rounded clusters at stem tips. Flower stalks mostly 1-2 cm
long, short-hairy near the base. Petals 5, broad, rounded,
spreading. Stamens (5) 8-12, usually considerably longer
than the style, the filaments densely hairy on the lower half.
Flowering time: June-August.
Fruits: capsules, nodding, from nearly round to ovoid,
3-5 mm long, short-hairy and glandular, on 1-2 cm long

Moist to wet, open or wooded sites, montane to subalpine
zone, in w and c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. to e. WA,
n.e. OR, CA, ID and in n.w. WY.

Edible and medicinal plant: see below.
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Edible Uses:
An aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves of Trapper's tea. The dried leaves are often mixed with non-aromatic leaves such as comfrey. The plant contain a narcotic toxin called ledel. This toxin only causes problems if the leaves are cooked for a long period in a closed container. Some caution is advised. It would be better to brew the tea in cold water by leaving it in a sunny place, or to make sure that it is brewed for a short time only in an open container. The leaves are used as a flavoring, they are a bayleaf substitute. The fresh leaves can be chewed.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and young flowering shoots have agents that are laxative, cause tissue to contract, induce sweating and urination, and give strength and tone to the stomach.

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