Barnum Bog from the Boreal Life Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia)

Paul Smiths VIC -- Adirondack Wildflowers | Bog Laurel on Heron Marsh (19 May 2012) Adirondack Wildflowers: Bog Laurel on Heron Marsh (19 May 2012)

This page is no longer being updated.  For an updated and expanded version of this material, see: Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia)

Bog Laurel (also called Swamp Laurel or Pale Laurel) is an evergreen shrub which flowers in mid-to late-spring in the Adirondack Mountains. The leaves are leathery and have smooth edges that turn downward. Bog Laurel produces clusters of small, cup-shaped pink flowers. The flowers are pollinated by bees. The flowers of the Bog Laurel are similar to those of Sheep Laurel, but the flowers of the Bog Laurel form clusters at the end of the stem. The flowers of the Sheep Laurel, by contrast, appear a few inches from the top of the stem, with newer leaves above the cluster of flowers.

Bog Laurel is highly toxic. The leaves of the plant reportedly were used as an external treatment for skin ailments.

Bog Laurel grows in bogs and tamarack swamps in the Adirondacks and throughout the region. Bog Laurel plants are found at the Paul Smiths VIC on Heron Marsh, where they may be observed from the boardwalk. They usually begin blooming in May.


Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.