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Sideritis syriaca

Greek mountain tea

A prized herb of Greece, Crete and the Balkans where it grows in the rocky, windswept mountains. 

Scientists have analysed its beneficial properties and discovered that extracts contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Well known to many a Mediterranean matriarch who will drink a cup of "Shepherd's tea" daily to ward off the ague. One teaspoon of dried leaves per person does the job. 

Mountain tea is so popular in its homelands that wild collecting has put the native species on the endangered list. 

To grow successfully in the UK it needs a hot sunny spot in the crevice of a rock or in an Alpine garden. The leaves resemble a woolly sage and grow in much the same fashion. The flowers are a delicate pale yellow and form in whorls on slender stems. 

It can withstand cold but not winter wet and may best be planted in containers with a very gritty soil. Drought tolerant but will need the occasional watering to establish.

Family

Plant type

Hardiness

Height

Spread

Foliage

Flower

Soil

Position

?

Lamiaceae

Hardy perennial

H5

40cm 

30cm 

Grey-green, aromatic 

Yellow 

Rich, sharp drainage 

Full sun

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