June 02, 2016

Mountain laurel now in bloom

See our state flower in its glory

Now is the time to visit Hawk Mountain and other wooded areas in the state to view one of nature’s most spectacular displays, the annual blooming of mountain laurel. Wooded locations and rocky hilltops like Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are excellent places to enjoy Pennsylvania’s state flower.

Although mountain laurel leaves remain dark-green year round, the only time to see the flowers in bloom in Pennsylvania is from late May to mid June, and peak blossoms typically coincide with Father’s Day. The abundant flowers feature clusters of small, star-like blossoms that are generally white with a pinkish-tinge, with darker pink specks inside the flowers. Other varieties may have deeper pink or even reddish flowers. Buds are framed and emphasized by the shrub’s glossy, lance-shaped leaves.

“Right now, the mountain laurel throughout the Sanctuary and along Hawk Mountain Road is full of buds ready to bloom any day. I think we can expect a big show this year,” says Mary Linkevich, Communications Manager at the Sanctuary.

Locations like Hawk Mountain are loaded with mountain laurel, which can grow to over 12 feet. The shrub is particularly abundant in rocky and mountainous forest regions, making Hawk Mountain’s rustic trails an ideal location to enjoy the flowers.

Mountain Laurel is also an excellent plant for cultivation. It looks good year-round and is generally left alone by insects and wildlife, used as a last-resort for food due to its poisonous leaves and flowers. A native shrub, the mountain laurel is vigorous and dense and makes a wonderful addition to any landscape.