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Kalmia polifolia

Previously known as:

  • Kalmia glauca
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Bog Laurel is a low growing, mat-forming, perennial evergreen shrub or sub-shrub in the heath family and a native of an extensive range from subarctic America to North Central and North Eastern United States. In the wild, it is often found in cold peat bogs. Bog Laurel can reach a mature height of 2 to 3 feet with an equal width. It is in leaf all year, produces showy pink or purple, bell-shaped flowers in spring, and the seeds ripen in September. The genus name honors Pehr Kalm, a Swedish botanist and student of Linnaeus. The species name is Latin for pole -leaves.

Bog Laurel does well in sandy or loamy, mildly acidic soil, but also tolerates clay soil. It is shade and flood tolerant and prefers a site with good drainage. Propagate by seeds or stem cuttings in the summer. It is a slow growing plant with a long lifespan and can take up to 20 years to reach full height. The plant can be pruned, but keep in mind that next year's blossoms will appear on old growth.

Bog Laurel is highly toxic and the foliage, in particular, is poisonous to animals. The plant is polinated by bees and, it is said, that the resulting honey is also poisonous.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Chlorosis, or yellowing of the leaves, is usually caused by an iron deficiency in limy soils.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#pink flowers#slow growing#shade garden#blue-green leaves#evergreen shrub#evergreen groundcover#wet soils tolerant#flood tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#pink flowers#slow growing#shade garden#blue-green leaves#evergreen shrub#evergreen groundcover#wet soils tolerant#flood tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Kalmia
    Species:
    polifolia
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Subarctic North America, eastern Canada, south to Pennsylvania.
    Distribution:
    Introduced to Great Britain
    Wildlife Value:
    Composes 11% of Canadian Caribou diet.
    Edibility:
    very poisonous narcotic plant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Water Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Multi-stemmed
    Prostrate
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Woody capsule, winged seeds are five-parted, round.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy, pink, 3/8 of an inch bell-shaped flowers appear in clusters of 2 to 5 blooms in May and June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Glossy, leathery, dark blue-green foliage, waxy with an entire and revolute margin. Below each leaf base there are ridges and it appears as though the leaf curls around the stem. This is especially noticeable lower on the plant.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Slightly flattened, 2-angled, sticky, glabrous or puberulent in downward lines from petiole base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Typically not very palatable to horses unless it is the only forage available, but sheep and goats may graze readily on the plant. The toxic principle interferes with normal skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and nerve function. Clinical effects typically occur within a few hours after ingestion, and can include acute digestive upset, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, leg paralysis, weak heart rate and recumbency for 2 or more days; at this point, improvement may be seen or the animal may become comatose and die. Watering of eyes and nose, nausea, vomiting, sweating, abdominal pain, headache, tingling of the skin, convulsions, cardiac failure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin, arbutin, Grayanotoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems