Andromeda polifolia

  (Redirected from Bog-rosemary)

Andromeda polifolia, common name bog-rosemary,[2] is a species of flowering plant in the heath family Ericaceae, native to northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only member of the genus Andromeda, and is only found in bogs in cold peat-accumulating areas.

Andromeda polifolia
Andromeda polifolia bloom.jpg
Andromeda polifolia var. polifolia in flower
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Vaccinioideae
Tribe: Andromedeae
Genus: Andromeda
A. polifolia
Binomial name
Andromeda polifolia


It is a small shrub growing to 10–20 cm (4–8 in) (rarely to 40 cm or 16 in) tall with slender stems. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, lanceolate, 1–5 cm (12–2 in) long and 2–8 mm (0.08–0.31 in) broad, dark green above (purplish in winter) and white beneath with the leaf margins curled under. The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pink, 5–8 mm (0.20–0.31 in) long; flowering is in late spring to early summer. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.

There are two varieties, treated as distinct species by some botanists:

  • Andromeda polifolia var. polifolia. Northern Europe and Asia, northwestern North America.
  • Andromeda polifolia var. latifolia Aiton [1789]. Northeastern North America (syn. A. glaucophylla Link [1821], A. polifolia var. glaucophylla (Link) DC. [1839]).[3]


The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus who observed it during his 1732 expedition to Lapland and compared the plant to Andromeda from Greek mythology. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition, which Linnaeus based on Johann Christian Buxbaum's pre-Linnaean generic designation Polifolia.[4] Buxbaum in turn derived the name from Johann Bauhin, who used it to mean "having polium-like leaves". The precise plant that Bauhin meant by polium is uncertain, but it may have been Teucrium montanum.[5] The common name "bog rosemary" derives from the superficial resemblance of the leaves to those of rosemary, which is not closely related.

Fossil recordEdit

Many fossil seeds of †Andromeda carpatica have been extracted from borehole samples of the Middle Miocene fresh water deposits in Nowy Sacz Basin, West Carpathians, Poland.[6]


Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, all of which require damp acid soil in shade. The cultivars 'Compacta'[7] and 'Macrophylla'[8] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Like most other members of the family Ericaceae, they are acid-loving plants (calcifuges), and must be grown in a medium with a low pH.


Bog rosemary contains grayanotoxin, which when ingested may cause respiratory problems, dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhoea.[9]



  1. ^ Maiz-Tome, L. (2016). "Andromeda polifolia". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 208. e.T64263821A67728518. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T64263821A67728518.en.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ "Andromeda polifolia L. var. latifolia Aiton". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  4. ^ Turland, N.J.; et al., eds. (2018). "Art. 60.10". International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Shenzhen Code) adopted by the Nineteenth International Botanical Congress Shenzhen, China, July 2017 (electronic ed.). Glashütten: International Association for Plant Taxonomy. Retrieved 2019-03-07..
  5. ^ Nelson, E. Charles; Oswald, P.H. (2005). "Polifolia revisited and explained" (PDF). Huntia: A Journal of Botanical History. 12 (1): 5–11.
  6. ^ Macroscopic plant remains from the freshwater Miocene of the Nowy Sącz Basin (West Carpathians, Poland) by Łańcucka-Środoniowa M, Acta Palaeobotanica 1979 20 (1): 3-117.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Andromeda polifolia 'Compacta'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Andromeda polifolia 'Macrophylla'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  9. ^ Paul Alaback; Joe Antos; Trevor Goward; Ken Lertzman; Andy MacKinnon; Jim Pojar; Rosamund Pojar; Andrew Reed; Nancy Turner; Dale Vitt (2004). Jim Pojar; Andy MacKinnon (eds.). Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Revised ed.). Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-55105-530-5.

External linksEdit