Kalmia latifolia / Heath Family
Mountain Laurel is one of the most interesting wildflowers that blooms in the spring. The leaves, flowers, nectar, and pollen of the moutain laurel shrub are highly poisonous. It has been said that the old mountaineers would feed honey from their bee hives to their dogs before eating it themselves in case the honey was made from laurel nectar, if the dogs lived they would use the honey. The toxin found in Mountain Laurel is andromedotoxin, it is poisonous to all domesticated animals. This shrub was photographed on the Angel Falls Overlook Trail in Big South Fork in May 2003.
Perennial - Shrub
Where seen: Great Smoky Mountains NP, Frozen Head SP, Big South Fork, Piney River, Piney Falls, Cherokee National Forest, Warriors' Path SP, Cumberland Trail