Mountain Laurel, Rhododendrons…Same Thing?
A while back I began reading AWOL On the Appalachian Trail and I remember reading his mentionings of the mountains being covered in mountain laurel and rhododendron (say that 5 times fast). Then I came across a post on Blind Pig & the Acorn, Mountain Ivy = Mountain Laurel = Rhododendrons. That made me wonder, what exactly is mountain laurel?I don’t study flowers and plants much or at all but probably should, especially given that I plan on doing more hiking. Might come in handy to know what is and isn’t edible and just some general information. I had to be careful to be reasonably sure that I uploaded an actual picture of mountain laurel. After doing some research, yes mountain ivy, mountain laurel and rhododendrons are basically the same thing, there are many different species of rhododendrons, including azaleas (Wilmington, NC has an Azalea Festival). They can be pretty hard to tell apart as they have similar appearances; come to think of it did I upload a picture of Mountain Laurel or Rhododendron? 😯 Sfgate goes into more detail between the Difference Between Mountain Laurel & Rhododendrons. All I know is about this time of year there’s a lot of this stuff blooming around here and some areas on the Fire’s Creek Rim Trail have quite a lot too.
A good resource I found that lists the more common flowering plants in Western North Carolina you might be interested in is over on Zen’s WNC Nature Notebook. This is something I’ll start checking out so I know what I’m looking at and what I’m taking photos of.