New Jersey tea; red root;wild snowball
native, fragrant, dry - moist, part shade - sun
This rugged, low-growing native shrub bears abundant, feathery clusters of tiny, fragrant, white flowers on long stems in early summer. Spreads slowly to form a colony. Young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in winter. The red-colored roots of New Jersey tea, which yield an excellent dye, can penetrate fifteen feet down into the soil. Leaves were used extensively by Revolutionary War soldiers as a tea substitute. Has a history of use as a soap substitute; when rubbed in water, the flowers are said to foam and soften skin. Attracts a wide variety of butterflies and insects, as well as hummingbirds. It is a larval food plant of the rare mottled duskywing butterfly and of the spring azure butterfly. A nitrogen fixer, it can thrive in poor, dry soil. Found in dry, open woods and slopes, it will tolerate light, open shade, but will not withstand heavy shade. Requires good drainage and plenty of light, but with those requirements met it is easily grown, very drought tolerant and long lived, and requires little maintenance.
cat # 5S2E
$13.95 each / 3+, $13.50 ea