mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia
  • LEAVES: simple, persistent, entire; mostly alternate, sometimes opposite or whorled; elliptical to lanceolate, 3-4” x 1-1.5”; dark green above, yellow-green below; midrib terminates in inconspicuous swollen tip
  • FLOWER: showy clusters, 4-6” across; white to pink; saucer-shaped corolla with ten pouches containing anthers which spring out when touched; deep pink and crinkled in bud
  • FRUIT: dry capsules, 5-celled, 1/4” wide; matures September to October
  • TWIGS: glabrous
  • BARK: thin, dark, reddish brown, narrow shreds
  • FORM: compact, short stocky stem; stout branches; forms rounded crown; 5 to 15 ft
  • HABITAT: moist, well-drained
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: eastern US, Nova Scotia
  • USES: ornamental; deer and grouse eat leaves and buds; poisonous to domestic cattle
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. gnarly form, reddish brown bark
    2. leaves persistent, cluster at branch tips
    3. persistent 5-celled capsule

    NOTE: can be confused with Rhododendron