Herb: Siberian Tea


Latin name: Bergenia crassifolia


Synonyms: Bergenia bifolia, Saxifraga crassifolia


Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)



Edible parts of Siberian Tea:

The leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Perennial

Height:
30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

Flowering:
March
to April

Habitat of the herb:

On shady north-facing rocks, stony slopes, rock streams and old moraines in the forest and alpine zones.

Other uses of Siberian Tea:

A useful ground cover plant, though rather slow to spread. It forms a clump. Tannin is obtained from the bark. The roots contain 15 - 22% tannin, exceptionally 26%. The leaves and stems contain 17 - 25% tannin.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - surface sow in a greenhouse. Make sure that the compost does not dry out. Two weeks cold stratification can speed up germination which usually takes 1 - 6 months at 15C. Fresh seed, sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring is liable to germinate better than stored seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late spring after flowering or in autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Cultivation of Siberian Tea:

On shady north-facing rocks, stony slopes, rock streams and old moraines in the forest and alpine zones.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Bergenia crassifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.