Kalmia latifolia, commonly called Mountain-laurel or Spoonwood, is a species flowering plant in the blueberry family, Ericaceae, that is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana. Mountain-laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is the namesake of the city of Laurel, Mississippi (founded 1882).
It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3–9 m tall. The leaves are 3–12 cm long and 1–4 cm wide. Its flowers are round, ranging from light pink to white, and occurring in clusters. There are several named cultivars today that have darker shades of pink, near red and maroon pigment. It blooms between May and June. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Roots are fibrous and matted.
The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It prefers a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.5 range, therefore it thrives in acid soil. The plant often grows in large thickets, covering great areas of forest floor. In North America it can become tree sized on undeveloped mountains of the Carolinas but is a shrub further north.
See Also: Flowers, Florist, Florists
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