The plant name skvattram

By Mats Rydén

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2019


Northern Labrador tea, Rhododendron tomentosum (formerly Ledum palustre), is a highly fragrant evergreen plant, well known from wetland areas of Sweden. It has been used in folk medicine and as a flavouring for beer. The author offers support for an earlier suggestion that the Swedish name of the plant, skvattram (first recorded as skvattran, probably the definite form of an appellative skvattra), can be linked to a dialectal verb skvatta, meaning ‘collapse, jump up and down’, referring to the position of the leaves in warm and cold weather. In winter, the leaves fold down.