There are about 7 species of evergreen shrubs, in this genus. They occur in woodland, swamps, and meadows in North America and one from Cuba. They produce deep green, leathery leaves with paler undersides, which may carried alternately, in opposite pairs, or in whorls. In late spring and early summer it bears showy bowl, cup, or saucer shaped pink to red flowers held in corymbs or racemes. They are useful for a shrub border or in woodland garden, the dwarf species and cultivars are suitable for a large rock garden. All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
Grow in lime free, moist, humus rich, slightly acidic soil in partial shade or in sun where soil remains reliably moist. Mulch annually in spring with leaf mold or pine needles.
Prone to fungal leaf spots and blights, leaf gall, powdery mildew, weevils, scale insects, lace bugs and borers.
K. microphylla – K. polifolia var. microphylla – Alpine Laurel – Western Laurel – This sparsely branched, dwarf shrub found in very damp to boggy conditions from Alaska to California grows 6-24” tall and 6-12” wide. It produces opposite, leathery, flat, ovate to oval leaves, ¼-1 ½” long. IN late spring and early summer it bears terminal racemes of saucer shaped, pink to rose-purple flowers, to 1 ¼” across.