Though less showy in foliage, and to some extent lacking in that brilliancy of colour which characterises many of the other American shrubs, the Ledums are nevertheless a most useful and interesting family of hardy evergreens. Blended as they usually are with the allied plants of a similar height, their distinct appearance gives a character and variety to the mixed border or clump which is at once effective and pleasing, and which no one who has so seen them would willingly dispense with.

All the species in cultivation have been found to stand the most severe winters in this country without the slightest injury, and to grow freely when planted in a shady dampish situation, with the usual allowance of turfy peat, or, in the case of the natural soil being fibry loam, a quantity of rotted vegetable mould.

They are all free bloomers, and in congenial circumstances produce their pretty white flowers in April and May, year after year, in great profusion.

The two species, latifolia and palustre, found wild in northern Europe, and abundantly over a large portion of Canada and the United States, growing in swamps and the margins of lakes, form neat shrubs of from 2 to 4 feet in height. In both species the leaves are of a linear oblong shape resembling the Rosemary, densely clothed on the under side with a rusty tomentum, the upper side being dark green. When bruised, they emit a strong yet pleasant aromatic odour. In both these species the flowers are white, and are produced in corymbs at the end of the branches. The species latifolia is more robust in its habit of growth, with the leaves, as its name implies, considerably broader. Both these species are worthy of cultivation, and sufficiently distinct to be grown together in even a small collection. Among the other desirable sorts may be mentioned thymifolium, buxifolium, and intermedium, all of them very dwarf, seldom rising above 6 inches high, and resembling in their dense habit and small foliage some of the species of Heaths with which they are commonly associated in the peat-beds, and to which they form appropriate companions. The flowers when in bud are of a delicate pink colour, changing to a pure white when fully expanded.

These are also natives of America, but found growing in more elevated positions, and requiring a drier situation and a somewhat sandier soil for their successful culture. They thrive well in rockwork, and form admirable edgings to borders of peat-soil shrubs; seldom requiring trimming, and growing as dense as the common dwarf Box.