Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Kalmia latifolia L.
Mountain laurel, Calico bush, Kalmia
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
The broadleaf evergreen
mountain-laurel is usually a 12-20 ft. shrub,
but is occasionally taller and single-trunked, attaining small tree
many-stemmed, thicket-forming shrub
or sometimes a small tree
with short, crooked trunk; stout, spreading branches; a compact, rounded crown; and beautiful, large, pink flower clusters. Its flowers are very showy. They are bell-shaped, white to pink with deep rose spots inside, and occur in flat-topped clusters. The leaves are oval,
leathery, and glossy, and change from light-green to dark-green to purple throughout the year.
Mountain Laurel is 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 wood has been used for tool handles and turnery, and the burls, or hard knotlike growths, for briar tobacco pipes. Linnaeus named this genus
for his student Peter Kalm (1716-79), a Swedish botanist who traveled in Canada and the eastern United States.
Image Gallery: 15 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Root Type: Tap Leaf:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
AL , CT , DE , FL , GA , IN , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MS , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , DC Canada: ON Native Distribution:
FL Panhandle to LA, n. to N.B., s. Ont. & Ohio R. valley of IN Native Habitat:
Wet to dry woods & pastures; cool meadows & slopes USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Cool, moist rocky or sandy soils.
BenefitWarning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Highly Toxic, Maybe Be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include: salivation, watering of eyes and nose, slow pulse, nausea, vomiting, sweating, abdominal pain, headache, tingling of skin, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis. Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin, a resinoid; arbutin, a glycoside. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: