Kalmia flowers can only grow wild in a few selected habitats worldwide and are perhaps better known as mountain laurel. It is a bountiful flower with symbolic solid value and rich history growing in clumps of bright white or pink cup-shaped flowers.
Kalmia is a genus and not the name of an individual plant. There are about 7 plants in the genus, although some are added and removed each year due to rearrangement.
Kalmia belongs to the Ericaceae family, which comprises cranberry, blueberry, yew, and heaths. Kalmia has received several common names over time, including American laurel, calico bush, spoonwood, and Ivy bush.
Kalmia latifolia is a multi-stemmed, gnarled, evergreen small tree or shrub native to the eastern part of North America. It is known for its attractive spring flowers and high-quality foliage throughout the year.
It usually grows as a dense, round shrub 5 to 15 feet tall, spreading out and developing gnarled branches as it ages. Despite its common shrub form, Kalmia rarely grows up to 30 feet tall as a small tree.
The flowers are borne in terminal clumps (corymbs up to 6 inches in diameter) that typically cover the shrub with unusual flowers for several weeks in late May through June. Each flower (up to 1 inch wide) is cup-shaped with 5 sides and ranges from white to pink with purple markings interior.
The glossy, leathery, elliptical, and alternate evergreen leaves (up to 5 inches long) are dark green on top and greenish-yellow on the bottom, reminiscent of rhododendron leaves.