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Growing Labrador Tea: How To Care For Labrador Tea Plants

By Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

With a little research, it is possible to find ideal candidates for growth in less than ideal conditions. Incorporating labrador tea plants, for example, is a great way to add evergreen visual interest in cold climates, as well as to attract native pollinators. Learn more here.


Tundra Plant Facts

Signature plants of the tundra biome are mosses, lichens, algae, grasses and small shrubs amongst others. Some interesting tundra plant facts about adaptations to the extreme cold climatic conditions are highlighted in this article.

Signature plants of the tundra biome are mosses, lichens, algae, grasses and small shrubs amongst others. Some interesting tundra plant facts about adaptations to the extreme cold climatic conditions are highlighted in this article.

The tundra biome is located in the Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine regions. It is differentiated from the other biomes by extreme cold climatic conditions, continuous snow fall, less precipitation and short summers. Needless to mention, the temperature goes below freezing point, about -25° C in winter months. In summer, average temperature recorded is 10° C. Believe it or not, summer season or precisely the growing season for tundra plants hardly last for eight weeks. To cope up with these extreme conditions, tundra plants and animals exhibit certain adaptations.

Tundra Plant Life

In total, approximately 1,700 plant species are identified from the tundra biome. Of these, some flowering plants bloom in summer, and the flowering period lasts till end of summer. The ‘tundra’ is defined as a geographic area, where growth of trees is limited due to short growing duration and prevailing cold climate. In addition to little sunlight, the tundra region remains dry (about 30 cm rainfall per year) and soil lacks nutrients. In short, plants are deprived of some of the most essential growth factors. Thus, the plant life in the tundra is threatened.

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Listed below are the plant species that are found predominantly in the tundra biome.

  • Arctic moss
  • Caribou moss
  • Terrestrial algae
  • Crustose lichen
  • Foliose lichen
  • Labrador tea
  • Tufted saxifrage
  • Cotton grass
  • Arctic dryad
  • Arctic willow
  • Diamond-leaf willow
  • Arctic poppy
  • Rhododendron
  • Pasque flower
  • Bearberry
  • Birches

Tundra Plant Facts and Information

It is the tundra plant adaptations that help it grow in the least hospitable areas. Since regular plants require sunlight, humidity, water, fertile soil and many other conditions for optimal growth, it is understandable that plants found in the tundra have some interesting features in them. Let’s discuss some tundra plant facts and how plants in the tundra biome survive to the harsh cold environment with less precipitation and limited sunlight.

  • Majority of the tundra plants comprise mosses, lichens, grasses, sedges, shrubs and other small plants. The dominant plant forms grow as ground cover, which help them in reducing exposure to heavy snowfall and strong winds.
  • The tundra plants grow together and form a colony in a specific growing area. This helps them in fighting the extreme low temperature and constant snow fall.
  • As expected, active growth of tundra plants occur in the summer months. Till then, they remain dormant to preserve maximum moisture and nutrients. Some plant species exhibit pubescence that aid in heat conservation during winter.
  • During the dormant period, the arctic moss collects and stores nutrients for leaf development in the spring season. It adheres to the ground and below water, as a means to protect itself from the harsh and dry winds of the tundra biome.
  • Another adaptation of the arctic moss is, it’s very slow growth rate, increasing height by about 1 cm per year. Thus, nutrient requirement is greatly reduced. It survives for a long period which is not expected for a bryophyte, about 7 – 9 years.
  • Mosses that cover the ground favor the growth of other tundra plants. In the same way, lichen and grasses offer a protective covering for growth of other plants. With the exception of dwarf birches in lowlands, no tree species grow in the tundra biome.
  • One interesting tundra plant fact is its ability to harvest more light and heat in summer. Some plant species (example, dark red plants) have red foliage for the purpose of absorbing atmospheric heat as much as possible.

The biodiversity of the tundra biome is lowest of all the remaining biomes of the world. But, it is expectable for tundra, where 75 percent of the area is covered by permafrost. On top of this, the plants, animals and other inhabitants of the tundra biome are constantly exposed to certain threats, which may be in the form of global warming, environmental pollution and industrial activities. Also, this region is explored for oil mining projects, thus leading to further reduction in plant population.


LABRADOR TEA

About Labrador Tea

Typically used as a tea, Labrador Tea is very potent and ingestion should be limited to two cups or less per day. It is rich in vitamin C and has a ton of medicinal uses. Remember – in moderation.

Tea is made from a couple teaspoons of leaves to four cups of water, bring to a boil. Discard water, leave the leaves. Add add 4 more cups of water and boil until it turns yellow, strain leaves.

When drinking dilute into equal parts water. (1/2 cup tea to 1/2 cup water).

Labrador tea is a member of the rosemary family of spices. As a result it can be used as a unique marinade for red meats and wild game.

Primary use
Medicinal Teas

Edible parts
Everything – leaves/tops and flowers

Medicinal
Respiratory conditions – colds, coughs, bronchitis. Anti-inflammatory.
Kidney disorders, detoxification.
Skin conditions, anti-septic


How does spruce needle rust survive and spread

Spruce needle rust is caused by fungi from several species of the genus Chrysomyxa.

  • These rust fungi live half of their life cycle on spruce needles and the other half on an alternate host in the Ericaceae family.
  • In Minnesota, labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) and bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) can all serve as alternate hosts for spruce needle rusts.

Spread of spruce needle rust through the seasons

  • In the spring, spores are released from the alternate host plant. Young, growing spruce needles are infected if cool, wet weather is present.
  • In the summer months, infected needles develop spore producing structures that release orange, powdery spores. These spores can only infect the alternate host plant and do not reinfect the spruce.
  • At the end of the growing season, infected spruce needles often turn yellow and in most cases fall off.
  • During winter, the fungus that causes witches' brooms and needle infection can overwinter in the infected spruce branches. All other spruce needle rust fungi overwinter in the alternate host plant.

Alcohol-free drinks with winelike complexity? Yes, it’s possible

They set out to recreate ancient Roman Gatorade, but along the way, Scott Friedmann and his team of culinary scientists at Acid League, the boutique vinegar start-up based in Guelph, stumbled on something that might just change the way we drink.

The two-year-old brand, as savvy home cooks and some of the world’s best chefs will tell you, has already disrupted the condiment market with their line of Living Vinegars, flavourful fermented inventions made from ingredients like mango, smoked malt and peach brine.

It was while studying the history of vinegar that they struck upon the idea for their latest project, Wine Proxies. “We landed on this concept called posca,” explains Friedmann, one of the co-founders. “It’s sometimes called the world’s first energy drink, and it was a beverage for the Roman army. At that time, wine got you drunk and water could make you sick, neither things good for an army, so they would take vinegar and mix it with water, honey, herbs and spices to create this drink for soldiers.”

Friedmann’s idea was to recreate posca in an upscale way, but after one especially successful experiment built around orange wine vinegar, it was obvious they had something much more compelling on their hands. By layering juice blends with tea and spices, they’d created a style of non-alcoholic beverage that approached the look and feel of wine, without the buzz and inevitable hangover.

“When we decided to try going beyond posca, we realized the world was our oyster,” he says, “and we had this question of ‘Are we trying to kind of mimic wine, or are we trying to just create amazing beverages?’ I think we ended up doing both.”

The first batch of three Proxies, in dark glass wine bottles with colourful wax necks and labels created by artists from around North America, was released late January through Acid League’s online, direct-to-consumer wine club. The three styles, inspired by New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Burgundian Pinot Noir and of course posca, were flavoured with things like green Sichuan peppercorns, blood orange, myrrh and oolong tea, and sold out almost immediately.

“We’ve had a huge embrace from the sober-curious and sober community, from the halal community and from the pregnant community,” Friedmann says. “I think it’s been incredible for people who either don’t want to drink during the week, or just don’t want the health impact of drinking as much as they have during COVID.”

Heather McDougall, founder of the wine shop Sips Toronto, has also seen a large increase in the number of inquiries she’s fielding from customers looking for low- or no-alcohol alternatives. Nonetheless, her experience with most of these products caused her to approach Proxies with some caution. “I had pretty low expectations,” she admits. “Having tasted a bunch of other alcohol-free wine and spirit-free beverages, I always expect them to be a lesser version of something I know to be good.”

McDougall’s first taste of Proxies, however, impressed her so much that Sips became one of the first retail stores in the city to stock them. They’re super versatile, she says, “because they have structure very similar to the structure of wine — they have acid and tannin and fruit and body. The only thing missing is alcohol.”

For their February releases, Acid League turned to popular wine styles like Alsatian Gewürztraminer and Northern Rhône Syrah, but also looked beyond wine for inspiration. Their Terre Sauvage was blended around the idea of the Canadian landscape itself.

“We tried to create a product that was kind of reflective of Canadian home soil,” Friedmann explains. “We used some apple vinegar and some McIntosh apple, but also spruce tips and cedar, Labrador tea and juniper and caraway and maple syrup, to create something that almost tastes like a trail, like you’re hiking in Canada.”

Looking beyond wine for ideas and flavours will prove crucial to the brand’s success, according to Nick Oliveiro, head sommelier at Peter Pan Bistro in Toronto. “They’re not just trying to imitate wine — they are their own thing and that’s really important,” he says. “They might offer the same range of complexity as wine, but they have different flavour profiles. When the restaurant reopens, I could easily see myself using them because they do have unique flavour profiles I would be happy to explore with food pairings.”

The next batch of Proxies — a nod to Chardonnay built around roasted coconut vinegar and Bai Jian white tea a sun-dried tomato vinegar and Kashmiri chili red inspired by Sangiovese and a unique citrus-driven experiment featuring orange blossom vinegar — will be released later this month.

We might not be any closer to knowing what Roman Gatorade tasted like, but as Pliny the Elder (almost) said, In Proxies Sanitas: “In Proxies there is health.”

Buzz-free bottles for your bar cart

Consumers are thirsty for interesting non-alcoholic or low-ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks. Here are five making a splash.


Watch the video: Jimmy George: Labrador Tea


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