Some adaptations of the Labrador tea plant include its fuzzy leaves, its roots and its chemical properties. The plant contains ledol, a chemical that poisons predators, effectively paralyzing them. This adaptation helps the plant to store nutrients in its foliage.
A prominent Labrador tea plant adaptation is its fuzzy, curled leaves that enable it to squeeze moisture from the air in cold, alpine environments. The fuzzy leaves also help to prevent water loss. For instance, the undersides of the leaves have fine hairs, and when the pores in the leaves open to pull carbon dioxide from the air, the hairs keep the plant from losing water. The leaves are adapted to the cold weather by curling, which minimizes exposure to wind.
Another adaptation of the Labrador tea plant deals with its ability to sprout from its roots. As fires are common in its natural habitat, this adaptation helps the plant grow despite frequent fires. In fact, the plant tends to grow more rapidly immediately after a fire has occurred..
The Labrador tea plant grows in tundra of both northern and southern latitudes. In southern latitudes, the plant grows up to 5 feet tall. In northern latitudes, it grows horizontally instead, becoming a form of natural ground cover.