World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Kalmia latifolia

Kalmia latifolia
Kalmia latifolia flowers
Conservation status

Secure  (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
  1. iftemplatemicritch:unranked]]:
Asterids
Order: Ericales
Binomial name
Kalmia latifolia
L.

Kalmia latifolia, commonly called mountain-laurel,[1] calico-bush,[1] or spoonwood,[1] is a species of flowering plant in the Heather family, Ericaceae, that is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana. Mountain-laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is the namesake of the city of Laurel, Mississippi (founded 1882).

Contents

  • Growth 1
  • Etymology 2
  • Cultivation 3
  • Wood 4
  • Toxicity 5
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Growth

It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3–9 m tall. The leaves are 3–12 cm long and 1–4 cm wide. Its flowers are round, ranging from light pink to white, and occur in clusters. There are several named cultivars today that have darker shades of pink, near red and maroon pigment. It blooms in May and June. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Roots are fibrous and matted.[2]

The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It thrives in acidic soil, preferring a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.5 range. The plant often grows in large thickets, covering great areas of forest floor. In North America it can become tree sized on undeveloped mountains of the Carolinas but is a shrub farther north.[2] The species is a frequent component of oak-heath forests.[3][4]

Etymology

It is also known as Ivybush, Spoonwood (because native Americans used to make their spoons out of it),

The plant was first recorded in America in 1624, but it was named after Pehr Kalm, who sent samples to Linnaeus in the 18th century.

Cultivation

The plant was originally brought to Europe as an ornamental plant during the 18th century. It is still widely grown for its attractive flowers. Numerous cultivars have been selected with varying flower color. Many of the cultivars have originated from the Connecticut Experiment Station in Hamden and from the plant breeding of Dr. Richard Jaynes. Jaynes has numerous named varieties that he has created and is considered the world's authority on Kalmia latifolia.[5][6]

The cultivar 'Pink Charm'[7] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Wood

handrail made with mountain laurel branches
Wood railing section made with mountain laurel branches

The wood of the mountain laurel is heavy and strong but brittle, with a close, straight grain.[8] It has never been a viable commercial crop as it does not grow large enough,[9] yet it is suitable for wreaths, furniture, bowls and other household items.[8] It was used in the early 19th century in wooden-works clocks.[10] Burls were used for pipe bowls in place of imported briar burls.[9] It can be used for handrails or guard rails.

Toxicity

Mountain laurel is poisonous to several different animals due to grayanotoxin[11] and arbutin,[12] including horses,[13] goats, cattle, deer,[14] monkeys and humans.[15] The green parts of the plant, flowers, twigs, and pollen are all toxic,[15] including food products made from them, such as toxic honey that may produce neurotoxic and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans eating more than a modest amount.[11] Fortunately the honey is sufficiently bitter to discourage most people from eating it, whereas it does not harm bees sufficiently to prevent its use as winter bee fodder. Symptoms of toxicity begin to appear about 6 hours following ingestion.[15] Symptoms include irregular or difficulty breathing, anorexia, repeated swallowing, profuse salivation, watering of the eyes and nose, cardiac distress, incoordination, depression, vomiting, frequent defecation, weakness, convulsions,[12] paralysis,[12] coma, and eventually death. Autopsy will show gastrointestinal irritation and hemorrhage.[15]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Kalmia latifolia"Germplasm Resources Information Network: . 
  2. ^ a b Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 186–189. 
  3. ^ (Version 2.3), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2010The Natural Communities of Virginia Classification of Ecological Community Groups
  4. ^ Schafale, M. P. and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: third approximation. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
  5. ^ Shreet, Sharon (April–May 1996). "Mountain Laurel". Flower and Garden Magazine. 
  6. ^ Jaynes, Richard A. (1997). Kalmia: Mountain Laurel and Related Species. Portland, OR:  
  7. ^ "' 'Pink CharmKalmia latifolia"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Species: Kalmia latifolia". Fire Effects Information Service.  
  9. ^ a b "Mountain Laurel". Wood Magazine.com. Retrieved Oct 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Gene Galbraith (September 12, 2006). "The legacy of the Ogee Clock". Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Grayanotoxin". Bad Bug Book.  
  12. ^ a b c Russell, Alice B.; Hardin, James W.; Grand, Larry; Fraser, Angela. "Poisonous Plants: Kalmia latifolia". Poisonous Plants of North Carolina.  
  13. ^ "Mountain Laurel".  
  14. ^ Horton, Jenner L.; Edge, W.Daniel (July 1994). "Deer-resistant Ornamental Plants".  
  15. ^ a b c d "Kalmia latifolia".  

External links

  • Kalmia latifoliaUSDA Plant Profile:
  • Kalmia latifoliaConnecticut Botanical Society Profile:
  • images at bioimages.vanderbilt.eduKalmia latifolia
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.