Native Plant Spotlight – Mountain Laurel (or Spoonwood, or Kalmia Latifolia)

I can’t believe it’s taken this long to get to Pennsylvania’s state flower.  But to tell you the truth, I’m not super familiar with Mountain Laurel, or Kalmia Latifolia.  I know it’s Pennsylvania’s state flower, but that’s about it.  This is a learning experience for me as well.  

Mountain Laurel does not belong to Pennsylvnia alone, it is also the state flower of Connecticut.  I can be found in the eastern part of the United States from Maine all the way to Florida.  Every part of the plant is toxic and even consuming a large amount of honey from bees who have exclusively browsed Mountain Laurel could be toxic to humans, but you are highly unlikely to ever find such a honey.  

Mountain Laurel’s beauty is apparent in the fact that it was brought to Europe in the 18th century as a cultivated plant and remains in use as an ornamental plant in Europe in the present day.  It has evergreen foliage and clusters of white or pink flowers.

I may have to cultivate our state flower somewhere in our yard.  It seems only fitting and I don’t think there are any beekeepers nearby in the neighborhood.  It was nice learning about this beauty, and I’m also going to be looking for it in the wild now that I know what to look for.  Cheers to Pennsylvania and Connecticut for choosing such a breathtaking flower!   

Published by scottmeneely

Gardener passionate about organic gardening, fresh food, sustainable landscaping, home brewing, and much more! Our nursery also includes my wife and 2 kids. We work together, learn together, and travel together. My wife is Panamanian and we try to grow lots of good Latin American ingedients. We live in Baldwin, Pennsylvania in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

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