Kalmia latifolia - Mountain Laurel
The broadleaf evergreen mountain-laurel is usually a 12-20 ft. shrub, but is occasionally taller and single-trunked, attaining small tree stature. Evergreen, 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.