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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of evergreen low-growing shrubs of the family Ericaceae.

There are about ten species of Ledum distributed in the cold and temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, where they grow primarily in peat bogs and damp forests and on tundras and alpine tundras. In the USSR there are four species, of which the most common is marsh tea (L. palustre). The young stems and the underside of the leaves of Ledum are covered with thick reddish hairs. The flowers are white and gathered in corymbs at the ends of the stems. The entire plant gives off a strong, heavy odor.

Infusions of Ledum are used medicinally as expectorants, and Ledum oil extract is applied externally to treat skin ailments. The leaves of marsh tea are used in homes and in agriculture to combat insect pests. In Eastern Siberia, Dahurian rhododendron (Rhododendron dahuricum) is often called Ledum, or Korean rhododendron.


Tolmachev, A. I. “K poznaniiu evraziatskikh vidov roda Ledum L.” In Botanicheskie materialy gerbariia Botanich. in-ta AN SSSR, vol. 15. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.