Bog Laurel grows primarily in peat bogs in Southeast Alaska. The leaves are narrow, 4cm long and rolled under at the margins. They are dark green above but whitish and hairy beneath. The flowers are rose-pink, saucer-shaped, and about 3/4" across. The tip of each of the 10 stamens (male part of plant with pollen) is tucked into a small pouch in a petal, and held under tension like a bow. At the slightest touch by an insect looking for nectar, the stamens pop out and dust the insect with pollen.
The genus Kalmia is named for Peter Kalm, an 18th Century student of Carl Linnaeus who is famous for his work in Taxonomy, the science of identifying, naming and classifying organisms. The species name polifoilia means "many leaves".