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Wisconsin Plant of the Week

Andromeda glaucophylla Link

Ericaceae (Blueberry Family)

Common Name:

bog-rosemary

05/13/2001

Bog-rosemary is a native woody evergreen shrub, usually less than 0.5 m high. Itís found in cool acid bogs (pH 4.5 to 5), on floating mats, and less often as a relict in conifer swamps.  

Leaves are alternate, initially dull red, but turning dark green and leathery on top, white wooly beneath and with a prominent mid-vein.  Leaves are from 2 to 5 cm long and have conspicuous in-rolled margins.

Most species in the blueberry family have tubular and urn-shaped flowers that are white to pink.  Andromeda flowers are about 5 mm across, round and in drooping clusters  The 5 petals are united to form a tube and the 5-parted calyx is also united. Stamens are only half as long as the corolla tube and so not easily seen. The flowers bloom in May and June and depend on bees for pollination.

Bog-rosemary spreads slowly by seed and rhizomes.  Similar bog plants are Kalmia (bog laurel), which has opposite leaves, unusual in this family, and Ledum (Labrador tea), with wider leaves than Andromeda that are rusty brown on the underside.

The common name comes from the superficial resemblance of bog-rosemary leaves to those of the garden herb, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), which is in the mint family.

  • Origin of the name: Andromeda, Gk., an Ethiopian princess known for her beauty; glaukos, Gk., bright, grayish; phyllon, Gk., leaf, refers to the whitened underside of the leaves
  • Range:  Circumboreal
  • WI Range:  confined to acid woods and bogs so generally north of the Tension Zone
  • Common associates: Leatherleaf, black spruce, cranberry
  • Wetland Indicator Status: OBL
  • Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 10 (S&W), C = 10 (MI)
     
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