1. Andromeda polifolia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 393. 1753.
Plants 5-80 cm, (without multicellular hairs); rootstocks creeping, ± horizontal. Leaf blades white-glaucous or, sometimes, green abaxially, (1-)2-5 cm × 1-8 mm. Pedicels erect or recurved, reddish or pale-glaucous, 6-20 mm. Flowers: sepals valvate in bud, soon wide-spreading, whitish to reddish, especially marginally, 1-1.7 mm, apex blunt to acute, calyx saucer-shaped, without stomata; petals short-spreading or recurved, hairy adaxially, minutely papillate on margins, corolla 5-8 × 3.5-7 mm, without stomata; nectariferous tissue at ovary base; ovary depressed-globose; placentae attached next to summit of columella; style ± equaling corolla tube. Capsules 5-locular, 4-8 × 4-5 mm, deeply depressed apically obscuring style base, conspicuously glaucous when young, glabrous or hairy at base. Seeds brown, ca. 1 mm; testa smooth, lustrous. 2n = 48.
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora): n North America, Europe, Asia.
Infection of Andromeda polifolia by species of the ascomycete genus Rhytisma Fries appears to result in leaves broadened and reddish, often not glaucous (A. L. Jacquemart 1998).
A hybrid of var. latifolia with var. polifolia [Andromeda ×jamesiana Lepage; A. polifolia var. jamesiana (Lepage) B. Boivin] is known from southern Nunavut and from the James Bay and southern Hudson Bay regions of Ontario and Quebec (J. Cayouette 1986); it is characterized by the abaxial surfaces of leaves being both glaucous and white-puberulent. Other specimens having abaxial surfaces of leaves both glaucous and puberulent are scattered through the range of A. polifolia.