Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Greek Mountain Tea
Sideritis syriaca

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sideritis (sid-er-RY--tiss) (Info)
Species: syriaca (seer-ee-AK-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By AnniesAnnuals
Thumbnail #1 of Sideritis syriaca by AnniesAnnuals


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Juliaalexander On Sep 9, 2012, Juliaalexander from London
United Kingdom wrote:

The native habitat of Sideritis Syriaca is on fast-draining magnesium-limestones and marble-rubble, on south-facing slopes and collapsed plateaux, at heights of 900 to 2000 metres in the Greek mountains, including the Parnonas and Taygettos ranges (Peloponnesos), up to the Gramos and the Pindos ranges in north west Greece (and, for all I know, on the other side of the Alabanian border too). All these heights are subject to year-round high winds and low night temperatures, with frosts and occasional snow (heavy in the north) at any time from November through March, and to strong sunlight for much of the year. In ideal locations, it grows to a height of about 12 inches, though around 8 inches or less is more usual. The flowers, leaves and tough, woody stems are all used for tea. They have traditionally been picked by the shepherds, where they have dried in situ, in the months from early August through to end-September. Because the herb is highly valued and much used in Greece - indeed, a request for 'tsai' = tea in the mountains will produce not black tea, but a delicious infusion of sideritis - the plant has been severely over-picked, especially in places that have recently become very much more accessible through modern road construction, notably in the vicinity of the cities of Kalamata and Iannina. Plant- and seed-collectors therefore please note that Sideritis syriaca is now a protected botanical heritage item, and picking is restricted in most areas. As an aside, I suspect the 'Tsai tou vounou' gathered in Crete, the Dodecannese and Asia Minor may be a slightly different species: it is less vigorous, with thinner leaves and stems, and seems to be generally much smaller, up to about 4 inches, and of inferior aroma/flavor. It could be the same plant, just not thriving where the climate is so much drier through April and May, but the texture of the leaves, both fresh and dried, seems different to me. I'm not a botanist. My observations are based on many years of exploring the Greek mountains on foot.
Hope this is useful.

Neutral renwings On Oct 31, 2005, renwings from Sultan, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

A.K.A. Ironwort
traditional greek tea brewed from dried leaves used to treat common cold.
In the wild, plants thrive on sunny, rocky, dry hillsides.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ceres, California
Hercules, California
Redwood City, California
Richmond, California
Portland, Oregon
Conroe, Texas

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