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Bog Rosemary Andromeda polifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
an-DROM-eh-dah pol-ih-FOH-lee-ah
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Andromeda polifolia, or Bog Rosemary, is a low, evergreen shrub or ground cover growing from 8 inches to 3 feet in height and, in its native state, typically found in bogs. The shrub does not have many branches, but many shrubs will grow together to form a clump. The plant prefers a well-drained, moisture-retentive, lime-free, humus-rich soil and shade.It does not do well in heat and humidity and locations south of Zone 6. Plants spread slowly by means of suckers to become a very ornamental plant The small, firm, narrow leaves are blue-green. Leaf margins roll under. Several small, bell-shaped, pink or white flowers occur together in a curved umbel at the tip of a branch.

Bog Rosemary is one of several heath shrubs similar to Leatherleaf, Sheep Laurel,  Bog Laurel, and Labrador Tea. In some cultures, the tender leaves and shoot-tips are boiled as an aromatic tea, but do so with caution as boiling the plant or infusing it in hot water releases a toxic chemical. It is safer to soak the leaves in a jar of water in direct sunlight to make 'sun tea'.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Issues:

No known diseases or insect pests. Does require acidic soil.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Ice'
    Intense slate blue leaf color.
  • 'Nana'
    Dwarf habit, perhaps no taller than 18 inches.
'Blue Ice', 'Nana'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#shrub#pink flowers#woody#summer flowers#groundcover#late spring flowers#early summer flowers#bog gardens
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Ice'
    Intense slate blue leaf color.
  • 'Nana'
    Dwarf habit, perhaps no taller than 18 inches.
'Blue Ice', 'Nana'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#shrub#pink flowers#woody#summer flowers#groundcover#late spring flowers#early summer flowers#bog gardens
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Andromeda
    Species:
    polifolia
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern (sub Arctic) Europe, Asia, and North America
    Distribution:
    Northern temperate regions of Europe and North America.
    Edibility:
    non-edible, poison
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Brown capsule with no ornamental value.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Blooms in June and July, several small, bell-shaped, pink or white flowers occur together in a curved umbel at the tip of a branch in terminal nodding clusters
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Shrub leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, narrow, leathery, sharp-tipped, and whitish below.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Insect Pests
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    A toxin, called 'andromedotoxin' can be released from the plant if it is infused in boiling water causing watering of mouth, eyes, and nose; loss of energy, slow pulse, vomiting, low blood pressure, lack of coordination, convulsions, and progressive paralysis.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits