Kalmia latifolia L. - Mountain Laurel
Family - Ericaceae
Flowering - March - June.
Habitat - Bluffs, creeks, swamps, rocky or sandy woods. Also cultivated.
Origin - Native to North America.
Other information - This striking shrub can be found throughout Alabama but is most common in the mountain areas. The plant can be identified by its thick, dark-green leaves, shredding bark, and typically twisted trucks. The flowers of Kalmia are distinctive and often have dark reddish-purple spots internally. These spots are small pouches that hold the spring-loaded stamens of the flower. When a bug lands on the flower the stamens thrust outward and deliver pollen to the oblivious insect.
Photographs taken at Hanging Rock State Park, NC., 5-14-03.