Mountain Laurel – Kalmia latifolia

Evergreen, many-stemmed, thicket-forming shrub or sometimes a small tree with short, crooked trunk; stout, spreading branches; a compact, rounded crown; beautiful, large, pink flower clusters.

One of the most beautiful native flowering shrubs and is well displayed as an ornamental in many parks. The stamens of the flowers have an odd, springlike mechanism which spreads pollen when tripped by a bee. The leaves, which are poisonous to livestock, are seldom browsed. Honey from the flowers is believed to be poisonous. The wood has been used for tool handles and turnery, and the burls, or hard knotlike growths, for briar tobacco pipes.

Height: 20’. Diameter: 6”

Habitat: dry or moist acid soils; in understory of mixed forests on upland mountain slopes and in valleys; also in shrub thickets. Range: southeastern US.