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Ledum is a genus name formerly widely recognised in the family Ericaceae, including 8 species of evergreen shrubs native to cool temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and commonly known as Labrador Tea.
Recent genetic evidence has shown that the species previously treated in this genus are correctly placed in the genus Rhododendron, where they are now treated as Rhododendron subsect. Ledum.
Because some of the species names used in Ledum could not be used in Rhododendron (the names already having been used for other species already in this large genus), new names had to be coined for them.
The species formerly listed in Ledum, with their current accepted names in Rhododendron, are:
One natural hybrid also occurs:
Some species (e.g. L. groenlandicum) have been used to produce Labrador Tea. Other species have varying levels of toxicity (e.g. L. glandulosum). Evergreen Labrador Tea grows slowly, but retains its leaves year-round. Users should take care not to over-harvest leaves from any single plant.
Ledum sp. often grows together with poisonous plants such as Bog-laurel and Bog-rosemary, but certain species (e.g. L. groenlandicum and L. palustre) are easily distinguished by the distinctive rust coloured fuzz on the bottom of leaves.