Monday, May 24, 2010

Mountain Laurel

Mountain laurel is a broadleaf evergreen native to the eastern United States. It gets part of its scientific name, Kalmia latifolia, from Pehr Kalm, a Finnish botanist who sent plant samples to Linnaeus in the mid-eighteenth century. The flowers are grouped in corymbs of a few dozen.

The ten stamens of each flower are pressed into the five conjoined petals, puckering them into a sort of decagonal bowl.

Mountain laurel is in the Heath family, along with rhododendron and azalea.

1 comment:

  1. "puckering them into a sort of decagonal bowl". Well said. Do you know the site The Intercontinental Gardener? Here is her piece about the sad decline of Pehr Kalm's Turku garden, photos of disheveled crab apples and Morus rubra, a vestige (perhaps) of Kalm and Linneaus' interest in fostering a Scandinavian silk industry.
    The blog's 2009 article recounts efforts to save the historically, culturally, and botanically important gardens. The comments are in Finnish, but one says, "Superintressant!"