Kalmia latifolia
mountain laurel

Kalmia latifoliaa
Kalmia latifoliaa
Photo, Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Kalmia latifolia
Common name: mountain laurel
Group: dicot
Family: Ericaceae
Growth type: tree-shrub
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: 5-15'
Foliage: Irregular, gnarled trunks. Leaves alternate, elliptical, 2"-5", thick, leathery, smooth, shiny, dark green.
Flower: white to pink
Flowering time: Flowers late May to late June. Fruits late August through autumn.
Habitat: Sandy ground everywhere except in the Cape May peninsula. Stone says common in both dry and moist situations; an abundant plant in the Pine Barrens.
Range in New Jersey: Middle district and Pine Barrens
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. USDA lists as  a facultative upland species; i.e., Usually occurs in non-wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found on wetlands (estimated probability 1%-33%).

Kalmia, named for Pehr Kalm, 18th century Swedish naturalist traveling in Canada; latifolia = wide leaves.

"The Pines seem to be the chosen land of the Ericaceae, which abound there both in species and individuals. As we visit them in early spring in search of the finest Arbutus that I know of, so by the end of June we may be sure of finding the greatest display of Laurel that can be found anywhere in the Middle States even on the mountains themselves, which are supposed to be its proper home. It is snow white in shady spots and reaches a height of six to eight feet, while in open ground, even out on the plains, it grows in low rounded bushes with the flowers of the deepest pink. " (Stone 617)