Kalmia latifolia mountain laurel Ericaceae KALA; Bx, pb, wv; NY, iw; Q, j (planted); R, ap (E. Danielsen 4/2017), cl, d, gb;

 

Kalmia_latifolia

Kalmia latifolia.M. B. Gargiullo (2009).

Kalmia latifolia is an evergreen shrub to 3 m tall, often forming thickets; roots associated with highly specialized ascomycota ericoid mycorrhizae (Allen1991); evergreen. 

Leaves alternate, elliptic, shiny, 5-10 cm long, leathery, pointed at both ends. 

Flowers white-pink, petals fused in an angular bowl shape, 1.5-3 cm wide, in sticky-stemmed clusters at ends of branches, pollinated by bumble bees, rarely self-pollinates; blooms June (Rathcke 1988).

Fruit a dry capsules, ca 0.5-0.7 cm wide; Sept.-Oct., seeds minute, winged, wind-dispersed. 

 Wetland status: FACU. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Undisturbed, mature upland forests. Probably mostly cultivated in NYC. Usually prefers sandy or rocky, acid woods, north-facing slopes, soil pH 4.5-6. Oak forests, pine barrens. Tolerant of shade. Moderately tolerant of salt, drought. Intolerant of flooding and compaction (Hightshoe 1988).

Notes: Foliage toxic but eaten by deer (Kingsbury 1964; Gargiullo personal observation).