Kalmia latifblia (named from Peter Kalm, a pupil of Linnaeus and a distinguished botanist). - Family, Heath. Color, white or rose-color. Leaves, thick, evergreen, alternate, oblong, pointed, on short petioles, opposite, scattered or clustered. Calyx, 5-parted, clammy, covered with glutinous hairs. Corolla, first tubular, then expanding, wheel or umbrella shape, with 10 horn-like projections on the outside, in which repose the 10 anthers on white filaments. When they are slightly jarred, as by a visiting insect, they spring up and fling their pollen over the insect's body, which thence flies to another flower and rubs against its pistil, thus securing cross - pollination. Capsule, 5celled, many-seeded. Flowers, large, showy, delightfully fragrant, in heavy corymbose heads on stout peduncles from the axils of the leaves, from which also one or more pairs of opposite, leafy branches spring. May and June.
Many regard this as our most beautiful American shrub. The color of the great masses of flowers varies from white to deep pink. The top-shape buds are of a still deeper color, 10-ridged, the ridges meeting at the center. In deep mountain ravines it may attain the height of 20 feet; usually it is 4 or 5 feet high. It often covers acres with a close growth luxuriant, rich foliage. We should take pains in its season to visit our laurel groves, where its rolls of blossoms, mixed with clumps of azalea, border a lake or stream, or stray up a mountain-side. South of Pennsylvania it often becomes a small tree.