Mountain Laurel Lights Up the Forest

Late May is mountain laurel time, and the blossoms seem to be trying to outdo themselves this year. A member of the heath family, Kalmia latifolia is related to rhododendron, azalea, farkleberry, and blueberry. The blossom is unique in our flora, as far as I know: the anthers nest in pockets in the petals. When disturbed, as by a busy pollinator, they spring out of their pockets and splash pollen all over the pollinator, who was actually in the market for nectar.

Mountain laurel often seeks out the bluff edges, so to find it head to the Perimeter Trail, Caldwell Trail, or Piney Point. Trust me — the sight will brighten your day!

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