Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)

Week 21 of the PBP.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, this series is more than a little bit of an exercise in nostalgia. Here we have Kalmia latifolia, or Mountain Laurel, a plant which promises that summer is close. It is native to the eastern United States, and there are areas of New Jersey which have wide swaths of mountain laurel forest, which is absolutely magical to walk through as they bloom. Like many beautiful things, it is poisonous—although it is related to the blueberry, in fact.

One of these tall beauties grew next to my front door. I loved the clusters of pink and white flowers that started out so intense and then faded as the weather grew warmer. I’d put clusters of them into my barrettes as I went about slaying the dragons that lurked in the deeper flower beds.

With regards to magical associations, Air and Jupiter seem the most apt, mountain laurel being both expansive and abundant. It also might make a good wand wood, as one of its names is “spoonwood” as the native peoples used it to carve their spoons; it never gets large enough to be good for bigger projects, though it can sometimes be seen used as hand rails.

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