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
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...
view the full question and answer
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