Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Kalmia latifolia L.

Rhododendron-like shrub with glossy, alternate leaves, to 13cm long, and terminal clusters of pink, saucer-shaped flowers in summer.  To 7.5m.  There are a number of garden varieties, varying in flower colour, leaf and habit.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’]. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Professor Kalm, (in honour of whom Linnaeus, as before has been observed, named this genus of plants) in his travels into North-America, published in English by Mr. Forster, relates that he found this species in various provinces of that extensive continent, as Pensylvania, New-Jersey, and New-York, growing most commonly on the sides of hills, sometimes in woods; that it flourished most on the northern sides of the hills, especially where they were interfered by rivulets; he observes, that when all the other trees had lost their ornaments, this enlivened the woods by the verdure of its foliage, and that about the month of May, it was covered with a profusion of blossoms of unrivalled beauty.’  [BM t.175/1792].  Introduced to Britain in 1734.  [JD]. 

History at Camden Park

Kalmia latifolia is marked with a ‘c’ in an 1836 edition of Loddiges’ catalogue held at Camden Park [CPA].  In William Macarthur’s code, used and explained elsewhere, this means grown at Camden.  It is almost certain that it was grown in the gardens around this time but may have been short-lived as it did not appear in the catalogues. 


Published Jan 11, 2009 - 12:01 PM | Last updated Jul 17, 2010 - 05:21 PM

The image shows a shoot with glossy leaves and cluster of pink, saucer-shaped flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.175, 1792.

Kalmia latifolia L. | BM t.175/1792 | BHL

Family Ericaceae
Region of origin

Eastern North America


Chamaedaphne latifolia (L.) Kuntze 

Common Name

Mountain Laurel, Calico bush

Name in the Camden Park Record

Kalmia latifolia 

Confidence level high