Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a showy shrub that is native to eastern North America. This plant was first recorded in America in 1624 and was named after the Finnish explorer and botanist Pehr Kalm.

The Cherokee used mountain laurel as an analgesic, placing the leaves on scratches to dull the pain. They also rubbed the bristly edges of the leaves over the skin for rheumatism ailments.

Carolyn Black is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 717-334-6271.

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