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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis

Bog Laurel

Flowering Period: May, Jun May June
Flower color: pink
Full sun Mostly sunny Partial sun
Wet soil


At a Glance: Small, slender-branched shrub with dark green waxy leaves and clusters of bright pink flowers.

Height: Up to 3 feet (1 meter).
Growth Form: Shrub.
Leaves: Opposite arrangement; margins rolled underneath; dark-green, leathery above, conspicuously whitish and fine-hairy beneath; shape: narrowly lance-shaped; size: 4 cm (1.5 in) long.
Flowers: Several in loose, terminal clusters; 10 stamens, the tip of each tucked into a small pouch in a petal, and held under tension like a bow; the stamens pop out when stimulated by touch; primary color: pink to rose; size: 2 cm (.8 in) across; shape: saucer-shaped.
Flowering Period: May, June.
Fruits: Five-valved capsules.

Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis
Photo © Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
FACW (facultative wetland)
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
prefers peaty soils
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: Structure provides cover and nesting for various bird species.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Medicinal Uses: The Tlingit used an infusion of the bog laurel to treat skin ailments. The Kwakwakawaku boiled the leaves to make an extract that was drunk to treat spitting blood or used to wash open sores which would not heal.
Name Info: This plant is called bog laurel because its leaves resemble bay/laurel leaves. The Latin name Kalmia is named for Pete Kalm, and 18th century student of Linnaeus. The Latin name microphylla directly means small-leaved.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.