Leather Leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata)

Shrub
Andromeda calyculata.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Leather Leaf
Chamaedaphne calyculata
Ericaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    A poultice of the leaves has been applied to inflammations[257].

    An infusion of the leaves has been used to treat fevers[257].

  • Edible Use

    An aromatic tea-like beverage is brewed from the fresh or dried leaves[161, 177, 183, 257]. Some reports say that boiling or steeping can extract a harmful toxin ‘andromedotoxin’ and it is recommended that the leaves are put in a jar of water and left in a sunny position to brew in order to make ‘sun-tea'[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    A toxin, called 'andromedotoxin' can be released from the plant if it is infused in boiling water[183]. See notes below regarding use of the plant for tea.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow February in a lime-free compost in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed[78]. Do not allow the compost to dry out and keep the pot in a shady position. Germination is usually fair, taking 1 – 12 months at 15¡c, though 4 weeks cold stratification may reduce this time[164]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a 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[164]. Cuttings of almost ripe side-shoots, 4 – 5cm long with a heel, August in a frame. A variable degree of success[78]. It can help to prune the plants lightly after flowering in order to encourage vigorous growth from which to take the cuttings[78]. Layering in August. Takes 18 months. High percentage[78].
Thrives in a moist well-drained lime-free soil in sun or semi-shade[1, 200]. Best if given some protection from the midday sun[1]. Plants are hardy to about -25¡c[184]. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. ‘Nana’ is a dwarf compact form that is good for shady areas[183]. The flowers have a delicate refreshing scent[245].
Europe, Asia, N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.