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Picture of Mountain Laurel Shrubs

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Picture of a mountain laurel shrubs....
Picture of Mountain Laurel Shrubs

Flowers bloom in late spring to early summer.

David Beaulieu

For more, including additional pictures, please see my full article on mountain laurel shrubs.

Don't confuse mountain laurel bushes (natives of North America) with bay laurel trees (Laurus nobilis). In ancient Greece and ancient Rome, people used the leaves of bay laurel to make wreaths to be worn on the head as a crown (the victory laurel). It is still used as a symbol of victory in the Olympics. It is also the bay laurel that is used as a flavoring agent in cooking, often referred to as "bay leaf."

Since it is a Mediterranean plant, it is not surprising that it is bay laurel, not mountain laurel, that is involved in the myth of Daphne and Apollo. In case you have forgotten your mythology, Daphne, fleeing the god, Apollo, was turned into a bay laurel tree by her father, the river god Peneius, lest Apollo overtake her. By the way, although Daphne gave her name to the shrub, daphne, that shrub merely bears an appearance similar to bay laurel.

But for that matter, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), despite its common name, is of an entirely different genus than bay laurel. Indeed, while the foliage of bay laurel trees is used as a culinary herb, mountain laurel is a poisonous plant!

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