Jersey Tea (Herbaceus)

The Jersey Tea (Herbaceus) is generally described as a perennial shrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: The root of Jersey tea was used by the Chippewa for a cough remedy. They would grate approximately 5 inches of the root and mix it with water. The Lakota used the leaves of the plant to brew tea.

General Characteristics

General: Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae). Jersey tea is a bushy shrub reaching up to one meter in height. The leaves are elliptical-oblong shaped to inversely lanceolate and are attached at the narrower end. The leaves are serrated with rounded teeth along the margins. Veins arise unevenly just above the leaf base. The upper leaf surface is almost smooth. The lower leaf surface has long, soft, unmated hairs. The stalk of the inflorescence is 1-2 cm long and is racemose with flowers maturing from the bottom upwards. The flowers are white and have 5 petals (1.5 mm long), 5 stamens, and 3 lobed ovaries. The fruits or capsules are 3-4.5 mm wide and open at maturity to release the seeds. The seeds are 2 mm long, brownish in color, and have a glossy surface.

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Habitat: Jersey tea is found on rocky and open wooded hillsides and in prairies.

Cultivation and Care

Jersey tea is a drought tolerant species that grows best in well-drained soils and in full sun. Jersey tea is difficult to transplant, therefore propagation by seed is recommended. Seeds can be planted in the late fall or early winter. To plant seeds in the spring, soak the seeds overnight in warm water and stratify.

General Upkeep and Control

Please consult your local land management agency as this plant is listed as threatened in many states.

Pests and Potential Problems Jersey tea is susceptible to leaf spot and powdery mildew, however no serious insect or disease problems exist.

Plant Basics
General Type Shrub
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA