General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 5 to 15 feet (1.5-4.5m)
Plant Spread: 5 to 15 feet (1.5-4.5m)
Leaves: Evergreen
Broadleaf
Fruit: Dehiscent
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: Pink
Red
White
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Toxicity: Other: All parts of plant are toxic.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Layering
Pollinators: Bumblebees
Bees
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Image
Common names
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Calico bush
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Kalmia latifolia
  • Synonym: Kalmia myrtifolia

Photo Gallery
Location: Beautiful Tennessee, 
Date: 2020-05-01
Beautiful
Location: Undisturbed woodland, Gainesville, GA
Date: 2023-04-28
Location: South Alabama 
Date: 2024-04-19
Striking lovely shrub!
Location: Southern Pines, NC (Boyd House grounds)
Date: April 18, 2023
Mountain laurel #182; RAB page 1183, 145-8-1. AG p. 319, 58-14-1,
Location: Alabama 
Date: 2024-04-19
Big beautiful blooms !
Location: North Georgia
Date: 2012-05-16

Date: c. 1800-05
illustration by P. J. Redouté from Duhamel's 'Traité des arbres
Location: East Tennessee 
Date: 2014-05-26

Photo credit: Julian Colton
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-05-31
wild shrub with white flowers on Mount Penn

Date: 2014-02-04
Location: Neighbor's garden, Pequea, Pennsylvania 17565
Date: 2017-05-30
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)
Location: Southern Pines, NC (Boyd House grounds)
Date: April 18, 2023
Mountain laurel #182. RAB page 1183, 145-8-1. AG p. 319, 58-14-1,

Date: c. 1865
illustration by Bessa from Michaux's 'The North American Sylva',
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-05-31
light pink flowers of a wild plant on Mount Penn
Location: Growing wild in Tennessee 
Date: 2005-09-08
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Botanical Gardens of the State of Georgia...Athens, Ga
Date: 2018-05-06
White Mountain Laurel 027
Location: Botanical Gardens of the State of Georgia...Athens, Ga
Date: 2018-05-06
Pink Mountain Laurel 025
Location: Undisturbed woodland, Gainesville, GA
Date: 2023-04-28
Location: Neighbor's garden, Pequea, Pennsylvania 17565

Date: c. 1913
photo from the 1913 cherry Hill Nurseries catalog, West Newbury,
Location: Invercargill, New Zealand
Date: 2023-12-06
A cheery greeting at my back door.

Date: 2023-04-22
Location: Pequea Park, Pequea, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2019-02-16
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-05-31
group of wild shrubs in bloom with white flowers

Date: c. 1819
illustration by P. Bessa from 'Herbier Général de l'Amateur', 1
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03

Photo by Kurt Stüber
Location: Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
Date: 2024-01-20
colony in the forest of the Birdsboro Waters Land preserve
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)
Location: Growing wild in Tennessee 
Date: 2005-09-08
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-05-31
wild shrubs in mostly white bloom, some light pink on Mount Penn
Location: Reading, PA on Mt Penn at Pagoda Bldg
Date: 2023-01-09
shrub in winter
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03

Date: 2016-06-20

Date: 2016-06-20

Date: 2016-06-20
Location: French Creek State Park in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2009-12-24
lone wild shrub in winter
Location: French Creek State Park in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-05-30
lone wild shrub in bloom
Location: French Creek State Park in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-05-30
blooms of a wild shrub in late spring
Location: near Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-11-20
wild shrub near road in woods in late fall
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-10-24
wild shrubs along path on Mt Penn
Location: Bear creek in northern Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-10-24
wild colony in woods
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2012-05-18
Location: East Tennessee 
Date: 2014-05-26
Location: Germany, Hamburg, Planten un Blomen Park.
Location: Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
Date: 2024-01-20
colony in the forest of the Birdsboro Waters Land Preserve

Date: 2023-04-22
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Camden, ME
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Cranesville Swamp Natural Area, West Virginia | May, 2023
Location: French Creek State Park in southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-05-25
wild shrub in bloom
Location: Alpine Lake, West Virginia | May, 2023
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)
Location: East Tennessee 
Date: 2014-05-26
Location: Eastern Tennessee
Date: 2014-05-26
Location: Southern Pines, NC
Date: May 23, 2022
Mountain laurel #182; RAB p. 1183, 145-8-1; AG p. 319, 58-14-1, "
Location: Southern Pines, NC
Date: May 23, 2022
Mountain laurel #182; RAB p. 1183, 145-8-1; AG p. 319, 58-14-1, "
Location: Swallow Falls (And Muddy Creek Falls), Maryland | May, 2023
Location: Swallow Falls (And Muddy Creek Falls), Maryland | May, 2023
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-01-14
wild shrubs along road in winter
This plant is tagged in:
Image Image Image Image

Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 1, 2018 2:22 PM concerning plant:
    The Common Mountainlaurel has a native range from southern Maine down to northwest Florida, most of Alabama, parts of Mississippi, much of Kentucky & Tennessee, and eastern & southern Ohio, in swamps, meadows, and upland woods in acid soils ranging from draining wet to dry. It is slow growing of about half to 1 foot/year. It has smooth, glossy, leathery leaves about 3 to 4 inches long, borne alternately or in whorls. It bears white to pink star-like or bell-shaped or bowl-shaped flowers in flat-topped large terminal clusters in June with a nice fragrant scent. It bears little dry, brown fruits of 5-valved capsules from September until March. It has a brown to red-brown scaly-furrowed bark much like Pieris. It has a dense, shallow, fibrous root system and is easy to transplant. It is sold many nurseries in the East and some in the Midwest. In landscapes it can do well if it is planted in a shrub border or bed with mulch around it and shelter from winds, heat, and drought. I've seen a good number do poorly and even die out in landscapes in its native range because of some bad factor. It can be temperamental.
  • Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 10, 2015 6:00 PM concerning plant:
    "How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs. William Starr Dana has a lot of interesting information about this plant. First, as to its name, Kalmia was named by Linnaeus after Peter Kalm, one of his pupils. Another name for the plant, Spoonwood, came from its use by the Indians for making eating utensils. It is said that the wood is of fine grain and takes a good polish. The name Calico Bush may have come from the markings of the corolla which might suggest the cheap cotton prints sold in stores.

    The shrub was highly prized and carefully cultivated in England. According to the author, Barewood Gardens (then the home of the editor of the London Times) was celebrated for its specimens. The English papers would announce the flowering season and the estate would open for visitors to come view the flowers. The author apparently had trouble convincing the head gardener of the estate that in parts of America, "the waste hillsides were brilliant with its beauty every June."

    The author also points out that this is not the laurel of the ancients which was a symbol of victory and fame, although its leaves are similar in appearance. The leaves of Kalmia latifolia were said to be poisonous and supposedly used by the Indians for suicidal purposes. There was also a popular belief that the flesh of a partridge that had fed upon its fruit would become poisonous.
  • Posted by robertduval14 (Milford, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 16, 2013 4:38 PM concerning plant:
    Connecticut and Pennsylvania's state flower.
Plant Events from our members
WebTucker On May 23, 2022 Bloomed
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Oh my goodness! by Toni May 12, 2020 11:34 AM 0

« Add a new plant to the database

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by Newyorkrita and is called "Rose Francois Rabelais"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.