Kalmia polifolia
Common name: 
Bog Laurel
Swamp Laurel
Pale Laurel
KAL-mee-a pol-i-FO-li-a
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen, broadleaf shrub, erect, grows slowly to 2-3 ft (about 0.6-1 m) high and a greater width.  Twigs slightly flattened, 2-angled.  Leaves opposite, simple, oblong to linear, occasionally oval, 1.5-4.5 cm long and 0.3-1.5 cm wide, margin usually turned under (revolute), midribs of both surfaces colored purple.  Flowers in clusters or solitary, petals connate (fussed), usually rose-purple or pink, rarely white; blooms in late spring to early summer.  Fruit is a 5-chambered round capsule, about 5 mm across.
  • Note: The selection shown here is ‘Newfoundland’, which is a very compact form.  It was selected by Peter and Ken Cox in the wild in Newfoundland, Canada and named and introduced in 1991.
  • Sun to light shade, moist to wet loam soils.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4
  • Taxonomy and distribution (www.efloras.org, Flora of North America):
    • Kalmia polifolia is very closely related to K. microphylla and there is no general agreement on their taxonomic treatment. The two taxa have different flavonoid profiles and are distinctly separated (S. Liu 1993). The controversial Pacific lowland (Washington to Alaska) entity occidentalis resembles K. polifolia in structure; it is closely related to typical microphylla chemically and is separable from K. polifolia by key characters. 
    • Kamlia polifolia is native to open bogs, swamps, and wet alpine slopes in North America, from the Maritime provinces of Canada west to Saskatchewan and south from Maine to New Jersey and west to Minnesota.
    • Kalmia microphylla var. microphylla is common in alpine meadows of western North America from California through the Rocky Mountains into northern Canada and Alaska.  Variety occidentalis, in contrast, is always encountered growing below 900 meters, being common in coastal areas and islands off the coast of Alaska and British Columbia.
  • polifolia: gray-leaved, like those of the sub-shrub Teucrium polium, Felty germander
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flowers


  • flower cluster and flower

    flower cluster and flower

  • leaves