During a Sunday drive through dense woods on the Virginia/West Virginia border, we were delighted to find large areas of blooming Mountain Laurel.
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a flowering, evergreen shrub in the heather family. Native to the Eastern US, it grows from Southern Maine all the way down to Northern Florida.
It thrives on rocky slopes in highly acidic conditions. You can see it growing here on poor, rocky forest soil:
Some areas we passed through sported huge thickets of blooming mountain laurel. The waves of white blossoms flooded the normally dark undergrowth layer of the woods with lots of light. The size of a mountain laurel plant ranges from low-lying shrub to small trees, close to 30 feet tall.
Flower buds blush a delicate pink. Once they open into large, showy clusters, the blossoms range from light pink to white.
As beautiful as Mountain Laurel is to look at, all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans, horses, goats, cattle and deer.
And here I was just wondering what Mountain Laurel honey would taste like!