Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database

Andromeda polifolia var. polifolia (Bog Rosemary)


 Plantae – Plants


 Tracheobionta – Vascular plants


 Spermatophyta – Seed plants


 Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants


 Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons






 Ericaceae – Heath family


 Andromeda L. – bog rosemary


 Andromeda polifolia L. – bog rosemary


 Andromeda polifolia L. var. polifolia – bog rosemary

Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia var. polifolia) is an evergreen shrub native to the northwest. It has spread across North America in USDA zones 2-9. A lovely understory shrub for wet areas, this beauty is most comfortable in sun. As it prefers acid soil, mix up some compost and peat moss for in the planting hole to give it a good start.

Native companions for Bog Rosemary include the wetland sedges, Labrador Tea (Ledum glandulosum), Duck Potato (Sagittaria latifolia) and Cattails (Typha latifolia)

Though this delightful shrub resembles the herb Rosemary, it is not edible. In fact, ingestion of Bog Rosemary can cause very unpleasant stomach upsets.

An outstanding evergreen native for wet sites. Suggested locations in the garden for Bog Rosemary:

  • Beneath a garden hose hanger.

  • Around a downspout splashblock.

  • Edging an in-ground pond.

  • A bog garden, either containerized or planted out.

  • Below a birdbath.

This low-growing shrub has soft pink flowers that hang like fairy bells from the narrow, leathery, ½ - 1” leaves.

It spreads by rhizomes and contains dangerous toxic compounds so must not be eaten.

Bog Rosemary prefers sun and as it likes moisture and acidity, add a mixture of wet peat moss and compost to the planting hole.

Bog Rosemary’s beauty interrupts the vast swamplands in which it grows, much as the beauty of its namesake, the Greek heroine, stood out against the ocean when her parents ruthlessly tied her to the rocks as a sacrifice to the sea-monster.


Photos, above, credit to Mnolf

 Linnaeus while on his expedition to Lapland comparing the legendary Andromeda to a small plant which he later gave that name.


Center photo above from FungusGuy, Pancake Bay

Interesting companion plants for Bog Rosemary (shown below), these sedges and cattails would be attractive and practical as companions to the Bog Rosemary. All are from old botanical journals painted by various artists.


From left: Sandstarr (Carex arenaria); Cattail (Typha latifolia); Svedstarr (Carex atrofusca) & Svartstarr (Carex atrata);  Skarpstarr (Carex gracilis)

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