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Kalmia latifolia

Kalmia latifolia L.

Kalmia latifolia L. var. laevipes Fernald

Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyEricaceaeHeath or heather family
GenusKalmiaNamed by Linnaeus to honour his friend the Finnish botanist Pehr Kalm
SpecieslatifoliaLatin for “wide to broad leaves”

About plant names...

Mountain laurel is native to eastern North America, found at edges of dense woods or throughout mature hardwood and pine forests where light levels are fairly high. The common name reflects its widespread presence in mountain forests, but it is also common closer to sea level. This is a popular landscaping plant, and many cultivars exist.

Identification: Plants are 6½-30' (2-9 m) high, usually growing as shrubs but reaching tree size in some areas. Its multiple branches are characteristically crooked, and gray or cinnamon-colored, depending upon age. The shape may be compact or uneven, with irregular branches and uneven foliage. Leaves are shiny, 1-4½" (3-12 cm) × ⅜-1½" (1-4 cm), roughly oval (technically elliptical), with smooth edges and pointed tips. Leaves are usually dark green, but become lighter in high amounts of sunlight. Flowers occur in numerous attractive 4-6" (10-15 cm) clusters that appear from May to July. Each flower is bowl-shaped, ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) in diameter, with five overlapping petals, white or pink with rose-colored spots.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Mountain laurel foliage is toxic to horses, cattle, goats, sheep, deer, monkeys, and humans.

Online References:

Kalmia latifolia on Wikipedia

Kalmia latifolia on www.carolinanature.com

Kalmia latifolia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Kalmia latifolia at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Kalmia latifolia on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Kalmia latifolia on plants.ces.ncsu.edu

Kalmia latifolia on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Kalmia latifolia on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

10/3/2010 · Tarkill Interpretive Trail, Rte 402, Poconos, Peck’s Pond, PA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

1/1/2011 · MacDonald-Zachos'
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/28/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/17/2016 · Blue Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/14/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/5/2015 · Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/14/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

1/1/2011 · MacDonald-Zachos'
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

10/3/2010 · Tarkill Interpretive Trail, Rte 402, Poconos, Peck’s Pond, PA
≈ 9 × 7" (21 × 17 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/15/2017 · Jason Cut-off, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

Buds. · 5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

3/9/2012 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/21/2017 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/15/2016 · Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/9/2019 · Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/19/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm) ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/6/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

Buds. · 7/15/2020 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/21/2017 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/6/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

5/18/2018 · Willard Brook State Park, Blue Trail, Ashby, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/26/2016 · Short Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/16/2016 · Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, Bar Harbor, ME

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/29/2013 · South Bubble Hike, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 5 × 8" (12 × 19 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/23/2013 · Rocky Ridge Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 4½" (13 × 11 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/19/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm) ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/28/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/6/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

1/1/2011 · MacDonald-Zachos'
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/19/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

9/16/2016 · Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail, Bar Harbor, ME

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/10/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.8 × 6.6 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/14/2009 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/22/2017 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm) ID is uncertain

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

10/3/2010 · Tarkill Interpretive Trail, Rte 402, Poconos, Peck’s Pond, PA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Spoonwood, Ivybush, Calico Bush, Lambkill, Clamoun)

6/20/2007 · Pepperell, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Range: Zones 4a-9b:

About this map...