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Kalmia polifolia Wangenh.
Bog Laurel, Pale Laurel, Swamp Laurel
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Synonym(s): Chamaedaphne glauca, Kalmia polifolia ssp. polifolia, Kalmia polifolia var. rosmarinifolia
USDA Symbol: KAPO
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)
Bog Laurel or Swamp Laurel is a low shrub, usually less than 3 ft. high. Erect branches have glossy, leathery, dark blue-green foliage. Small, bell-like, pink flowers cluster together in groups of two to five. The fruit is a woody capsule.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Light pink to white.
DistributionUSA: CT , MA , ME , MI , MN , MT , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , VT , WI
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Lab. to AK, s. to CT., n. prairie provinces, WA & w. U.S. mts.
Native Habitat: Cold bogs; cold, wet, mt. meadows
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet, organic soils & peat.
Conditions Comments: Chlorosis is caused by iron deficiency on limy soils. Swamp laurel is shade and flood tolerant.
BenefitWarning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Highly Toxic, Maybe Be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include: salivation, watering of eyes and nose, slow pulse, nausea, vomiting, sweating, abdominal pain, headache, tingling of skin, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis. Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin, a resinoid; arbutin, a glycoside. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagation is by seeds under a mist tent or by summer cuttings.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
April 27, 2007
I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Kalmia polifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Kalmia polifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Kalmia polifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-15
Research By: TWC Staff