This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Evergreen shrubs usually of small stature and compact habit. Leaves alternate, entire. Flowers solitary or corymbose, hemispherical or broadly campanulate. This genus is remark-able for having projecting cavities in the corolla holding the stamens until they are mature, when the slightest touch of the filaments will release them and cause the anthers to discharge their pollen. There are about half-a-dozen species, all natives of North America. This genus was named in honour of a Swedish botanist.
1. K. latifolia (fig. 162). Calico Bush, Mountain Laurel. This is the handsomest of the group, having shining alternate foliage of a pleasing verdure, and dense clusters of exquisitely elegant delicate pink, rose or nearly white flowers, produced from May to July.
2. K. angustifolia. Sheep Laurel or Lambkill. - In this species the leaves are usually opposite or in threes, and narrower, and the flowers are of a deeper colour and smaller, than in the last.
3. K. glauca. - A straggling shrub with compressed 2-edged branches and nearly sessile glaucous leaves with revolute margins. Corymbs few-flowered; flowers lilac-purple, produced in April. K. hirsuta has hairy leaves and solitary axillary rosy flowers. This shrub grows about a foot high.
Fig. 162. Kalmia latifolia. (1/3 nat. size.)