There are about 7 species of evergreen shrubs, in this genus. They occur in woodland, swamps, and meadows in North America and one from Cuba. They produce deep green, leathery leaves with paler undersides, which may carried alternately, in opposite pairs, or in whorls. In late spring and early summer it bears showy bowl, cup, or saucer shaped pink to red flowers held in corymbs or racemes. They are useful for a shrub border or in woodland garden, the dwarf species and cultivars are suitable for a large rock garden. All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
Grow in lime free, moist, humus rich, slightly acidic soil in partial shade or in sun where soil remains reliably moist. Mulch annually in spring with leaf mold or pine needles.
Prone to fungal leaf spots and blights, leaf gall, powdery mildew, weevils, scale insects, lace bugs and borers.
K. latifolia ‘Nipmuck’ – Calico Bush – Mountain Laurel – This dense, bushy shrub grows 5-12’ feet tall and wide. It produces alternate, leathery, oval to elliptic-lance shaped, leathery, glossy, pale green leaves with paler undersides, to 5” long. From late spring to midsummer, it bears large corymbs, 3-4” or more across, of bowl or cup shaped, nearly white, ¾-1” wide, emerge from distinctive crimped, dark red buds. May take several years to recover from hard pruning.