Andromeda polifolia var. glaucophylla

Bog Rosemary

Bog Rosemary

Bog Rosemary in bloom
Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Joanne Kline

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Andromeda, from Andromeda, wife of Perseus
  • polifolia, from the Greek, polus (polus), "many", and Latin, folium, "leaf"; hence "many leaf"
  • glaucophylla, from the Greek, glaukos (glaukos), "bright, sparkling, gleaming; grayish, bluish-green", and fullon (phyllon), "leaf"; hence "bluegreen leaved"
  • Bog Rosemary, from the prefered habitat of this hardy northern heath and the superficial resemblance of its leaf to that of the culinary herb.
  • Other common names include Blue Bog Rosemary, Downy Rosemary,
  • Rosling, Blomris (Swe), Kvitlyng (Nor), Rosmarinlyng (Dan), Suokukka (Fin), Rosmarinheide (Ger),


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 526876
  • Also known as Andromeda glaucophylla, Andromeda glaucophylla var. iodandra, Andromeda polifolia ssp. glaucophylla, Andromeda rosmarinifolia, and a host of others


  • A low, evergreen, rhizomatous shrub.¼, ½, ¾, º, é
  • Leaves long and narrow with down curled edges; evergreen. alternate, simple, evergreen leaves pointed tip, leaf margin recurved dark blue/green color
  • Stem gray/brown, smooth stems
  • Roots
  • Flowers * urn-shaped, white with hints of pink borne in May in terminal umbels
    • Sepals
    • Petals
    • Stamens
    • Pistils
    • Ovary superior (within blossom) inferior (below flower)
  • Fruit brown capsule, no ornamental value
  • Seed


  • Identifiable as
  • Distinguished from
  • Field Marks
  • One of several broadleaf evergreen bog shrubs.
  • Distinguished from other bog shrubs by shape and bluegreen color of leaf.


  • cosmopolitan species, native to N. Europe, N. Asia and northern North America


  • Bog, often on floating mats of vegetation.
  • Cool, acidic soil (pH of 4.5-5)




  • The Ojibwe made a tea from the leaves.


  • Contains andromedotoxin (grayanoside), a toxic diterpene causing slow pulse, lowering of blood pressure, lack of coordination, convulsions, progressive paralysis, and death.


  • Sexually by seed
  • Flowers
  • Assexually by
  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes
  • Self-pollination possible but usually not very effective. Flowers are visited by a number of insects (but often few individuals), most commonly by Apis mellifera, the Bumblebees Bombus affinis, B. fervida, B. impatiens, B. terricola, B. vagans, and Andrena. Flies and butterflies visit but probably do not pollinate the flowers.
  • Seed dispersal by wind
  • Seeds require cold stratification to break dormancy (?)


  • By rhizome division,
  • By seed, following cold stratification.


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Sun
    • Soil
    • Water
    • Spacing
    • Fertilization
  • Size 12"-18"W x 12"-18"H
  • Growth rate
  • Good for
  • Prefers cool, moist, acidic soils
  • Available by mail order from specialty suppliers.
  • hardy to zone 2, dislikes heat/humidity and suffers south of zone 6
  • Culture

    * requires peaty, sandy soil
    * soil should remain constantly moist
    * cool soil and climate preferred
    * difficult to grow as not adaptable

    Landscape Uses

    * naturalized situations
    * edging plant in soils that permit growth


    * difficult to replicate preferred growing conditions
    * dislikes heat and humidity
    * best in areas with cool summers
    * will not tolerate drought

    ID Features

    * low, groundcover-like habit
    * evergreen leaves are narrow with recurved margin
    * distinctive bluish leaves and pinkish urn-like blooms


    * by seed
    * division of clumps
    * rooted cuttings


    'Blue Ice' - Intense slate blue leaf color. Popular in the trade.

    'Nana' - Dwarf habit, perhaps no taller than 18".



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Last updated on 29 August, 2004