Siberian Tea (Bergenia crassifolia)

B. bifolia. Saxifraga crassifolia.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Siberian Tea
Bergenia crassifolia

A useful ground cover plant[188], though rather slow to spread[197]. It forms a clump[208].

Tannin is obtained from the bark[61]. The roots contain 15 – 22% tannin, exceptionally 26%[223]. The leaves and stems contain 17 – 25% tannin[223].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    The leaves are used as a tea substitute[2, 61, 105, 177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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 15¡c[134]. 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[188] or in autumn[200]. 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.
Succeeds in full sun or light shade in most soils[134, 200] but prefers a deep fertile soil that does not dry out fully[134]. Established plants are drought tolerant according to another report[190]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are at their best in a medium-heavy soil[208]. Requires a position sheltered from cold drying winds and from the early morning sun. The leaf colour is best when plants are grown in a poor soil in a sunny position[188]. A very ornamental plant, it is hardy to about -20¡c[187]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. The different species of this genus will hybridise freely when grown near each other[233].
E. Asia – N.W. China to Siberia.

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.