mountain laurel Ericaceae Kalmia latifolia L. Listen to the Latin symbol: KALA Other Fact Sheets
Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, elliptical, 2 to 5 inches long, entire margin, pointed tip, mid-vein raised on upper surfaces, shiny/waxy green above, yellow green below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; very showy clusters (3 to 6 inches across), white to rose colored with purple markings, each flower 1 inch across, with the petals forming a distinct firm bowl around the pistil and stamens, appear in late spring and early summer.
Fruit: A round, brown dehiscent capsule, 1/4 inch long, splitting into 5 valves when dry, occur in open clusters; releasing very small seeds when mature in the fall.
Twig: Generally forked and twisted, green or red when young, later brownish red, leaves cluster at branch tips.
Bark: Thin, dark brown to red in color, shredding and splitting on old stems.
Form: A small tree or shrub with many twisted stems reaching up to 10 feet tall in mountains (occasionally 25 feet on Piedmont of southeastern U.S.)

Looks like: mountain pieris - great rhododendron - sheep laurel
leaf flower fruit twig bark form map
Additional Range Information:
Kalmia latifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting mountain laurel.
More: Fall Color
External Links:
USDAFS Additional Silvics
USDA Plants Database
© Copyright 2014, Virginia Tech
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
Virginia Tech Homepage CNRE FREC