mountain laurel

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mountain laurel,

evergreen shrub (Kalmia latifolia) of the family Ericaceae (heathheath,
in botany, common name for some members of the Ericaceae, a family of chiefly evergreen shrubs with berry or capsule fruits. Plants of the heath family form the characteristic vegetation of many regions with acid soils, particularly the moors, swamps, and mountain slopes
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 family), closely related to the rhododendron and native to E North America. The state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, it has leathery leaves and large clusters of spring-blooming pink or white flowers borne at the ends of the branches. The flowers are unusual in having the anthers of the stamens held in little pockets of the corolla and released like springs when touched by an insect. Mountain laurel, called also calico bush and spoonwood, is poisonous to livestock but seldom palatable; formerly its leaves were used as a remedy for skin diseases, and spoons were made from the hard wood. Like other species of Kalmia (named for Peter Kalm) that share its poisonous quality and elastic stamens, it is an acid-soil plant. The sheep laurel or lambkill (K. angustifolia) has smaller, deeper pink flowers not borne at the branch tips. The true laurellaurel,
common name for the Lauraceae, a family of forest trees and shrubs found mainly in tropical SE Asia but also abundant in tropical America. Most have aromatic bark and foliage and are evergreen; deciduous species are usually those that extend into temperate zones.
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 belongs to a separate family. Although the leaves of Kalmia somewhat resemble in shape those of the true laurel, only the latter (sold as bayleaf) is suitable for seasoning. Mountain laurel is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Ericales, family Ericaceae.

mountain laurel

traditional symbol of ambition. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 175]

mountain laurel

of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. [Flower Symbolism: Golenpaul, 628]