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George Ivanov
George Ivanov

Bog Laurel !NEW!

Kalmia polifolia, previously known as Kalmia glauca[1] and commonly called bog laurel, swamp laurel,[2] or pale laurel, is a perennial[3] evergreen shrub of cold acidic bogs, in the family Ericaceae. It is native to north-eastern North America, from Newfoundland to Hudson Bay southwards.

bog laurel

Bog American-laurel has brilliant pink flowers and narrow leaves on a diminutive shrub. The flowers brighten up bogs in mid-summer. It is beautiful, but deadly, its poisonous foliage and nectar filled with toxic resins called grayanotoxins.

Black Tern Bog consists of two small seepage lakes in a pitted outwash plain and contains an outstanding flora including several rare and unusual species. About 20 acres of quaking sphagnum bog surround the bog pools and contain such characteristic species as sundew, pitcher plant, bladderwort, buckbean, bog-laurel, bog-rosemary, leather-leaf, and cotton grass sedge. Of special interest are uncommon plants including swamp pink, rose pogonia, grass pink, and a state endangered rush. Dwarf white pine and black spruce are found on the bog with second growth hardwoods surrounding it. Nesting bird species include killdeer, common snipe, mallard, song sparrow, and red winged blackbird. Black Tern Bog is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967.

Kalmia latifolia and related spp.; Plant considered very dangerous for herbal use." [CPPlantMush] Honey, when made by bees in the area where mountain laurel is grown, has been found to be poisonous. [KYP James] Delaware Indians used the leathery leaves of the closely related Mountain Laurel, K. latifolia to make a decoction to commit suicide. [KYP James]Kalmia angustifolia, Kalmia latifolia and K. microphylla; All parts contain andromedotoxin and diterpenoid resinoides. "Symptoms occur 6 hours after ingestion." "First aid; Emesis; activated charcoal; tea or coffee." [Brinker TBM]

A June-blooming bog counterpart and close relative of Bog American-laurel is a small shrub called Sheep American-laurel (Kalmia angustifolia). Less of a bog specialist, this shrub also grows in forests and on pond and lake shores. While Bog American-laurel produces flowers in terminal clusters, Sheep American-laurel produces flowers below a flush of new leaves. Later in the season, fruit capsules of Sheep American-laurel are therefore partly concealed under a canopy of leaves. As the final photo shows, these capsules can persist through a turn of the seasons. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)

The bog contains a variety of typical northern bog plant species such as pitcher plant, leather leaf, bog laurel and Labrador tea, as well as several rare species. Plants must adapt to this nutrient-poor environment. The pitcher plant actually traps and "eats" insects. The leaves of the pitcher plant form a vase that holds water. Insects that venture in are trapped by downward pointing hairs, fall into the water, and are digested by the plant.

Bogs are characterized by a continuous carpet of sphagnum moss, a species-poor herbaceous layer, low ericaceous, evergreen shrubs, and widely scattered and stunted conifer trees. The ubiquitous moss layer of bogs is dominated by sphagnum mosses, especially Sphagnum magellanicum, S. angustifolium, and S. fuscum. The shrub layer is dominated by low, ericaceous shrubs with leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) as the most prevalent species. The following heath shrubs are important components of bogs: bog rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla), huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), sheep-laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), bog laurel (K. polifolia), Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), low sweet blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), Canada blueberry (V. myrtilloides), large cranberry (V. macrocarpon), and small cranberry (V. oxycoccos). The tall shrub layer of bogs is less dense than the low shrub layer and is often restricted to the periphery of the bog. Tall shrubs typical of bogs include black chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia), mountain holly (Ilex mucronata), bog willow (Salix pedicellaris), steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa), smooth highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), and wild-raisin (Viburnum cassinoides). South of the climatic tension zone, buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), and highbush blueberry frequently occur within bogs or along their margins. The herbaceous layer of bogs is dominated by cyperaceous plants. Sedges that are characteristic of bogs include few-seed sedge (Carex oligosperma), few-flower sedge (C. pauciflora), and wiregrass sedge (C. lasiocarpa). Additional graminoids include twig-rush (Cladium mariscoides), three-way sedge (Dulichium arundinaceum), cotton-grasses (Eriophorum spp.), white beak-rush (Rhynchospora alba), and bulrushes (Scirpus spp.). Insectivorous plants are common features of bogs and may include round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), spoon-leaf sundew (D. intermedia), pitcher-plant (Sarracenia purpurea), and flat-leaved bladderwort (Utricularia intermedia). Trees within bogs are widely scattered and stunted (seldom reaching six meters in height). The most commonly occurring trees are black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina), with jack pine (Pinus banksiana), white pine (Pinus strobus), and red maple (Acer rubrum) as occasional associates and the latter being more prevalent south of the climatic tension zone.

The plants are in a mixture of native soil, peat and sand that has been laid in a perforated pond liner so that the soil retains water and drains slowly. During dry periods, the bog is watered so that it remains moist. Screens cover the Calopogon orchids to prevent rodents from digging them up and eating them. Other species in the garden include cranberry, sheep laurel, Labrador tea, nodding ladies tresses, yellow pitcher plants and purple pitcher plants. All of these native plants are well adapted to the wet, nutrient-poor conditions of a bog.

Bogs are unique wetlands because their nutrient-poor systems support a specific group of plant species. Such plants include carnivorous species such as pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts, which eat insects and are able to retain water from precipitation, and sphagnum moss, which grows abundantly over the layers of peat found here. Common shrubs include leatherleaf, bog laurel, bog rosemary and Labrador tea. Blueberries and cranberries are also common.

Its leaves are arranged oppositely on the branch. They are waxy with an entire, revolute margin. The base of the petiole is pressed against the stem. Below each leaf base there are ridges, where it appears as though a part of the leaf is curled around the circumference of the stem. This is especially noticeable lower on the plant.Bog-laurel contains grayanotoxin, which when ingested lowers blood pressure, and may cause respiratory problems, dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Kalmia polifolia, commonly called bog-laurel or swamp laurel,[1] is an evergreen shrub of cold acidic bogs, in the family Ericaceae. It is native to north-eastern North America, from Newfoundland to Hudson Bay southwards. 041b061a72


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