Jun 17 2009

June Blooms: Mountain Laurel

Published by at 4:40 pm under Phenology,Plants

Mountain Laurel (photo by Vlmstra via GNU Free Licensing on WikiMedia)

Mountain Laurel, the State Flower of Pennsylvania, is blooming now in the Laurel Highlands east of Pittsburgh. 

As you can see from this photo it has a very fascinating flower.  Each flower has five sides with an additional ridge down the center of those sides.  This makes 10 ridges on the outside and 10 troughs on the inside when the flower opens.  Each trough has a dent that holds a stamen in trigger position.  The stamens lie in wait while the pink circle at the center of the flower beckons like a target.  (Click on the photo to see a close-up of the flower.)

When a bee walks on the flower petal, the stamen is released and powders the bee with pollen. 

Pretty ingenious, eh? 

For more information on mountain laurel, see Chuck Tague’s blog.

(front photo by Vlmstra from WikiMedia, close-up photo by Dianne Machesney)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “June Blooms: Mountain Laurel”

  1. Margaret Hookeyon 18 Jun 2009 at 7:13 pm

    This reminds me of the great displays of Mountain Laurel on Mt. Washington, MA. Even as little distracted children we realized this annual display was something special. Some years it was a heavy display – a laurel year. Other years it was much more spare. This is a lovely, lovely photo.

  2. Lauren Conkleon 19 Jun 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I drove past the Ambridge Reservoir this week (Ambridge, PA) to look for birds, and I found the reservoir covered with blooming water lilies. Quite an impressive sight.

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