Synonyms: Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis, Kalmia microphylla var. occidentalis, Kalmia occidentalis, Kalmia polifolia, Kalmia polifolia ssp. microphylla, Kalmia polifolia ssp. occidentalis, Kalmia polifolia ssp. polifolia, Kalmia polifolia var. microphylla, Kalmia polifolia var. polifolia
Alpine laurel is an attractive perennial shrublet with multiple ascending to erect and leafy stems from 5-15 cm high. The stems and leaves are glabrous throughout. The evergreen leaves are 1-1.5 cm long and narrowly to broadly oblong-elliptic with the margins strongly rolled downwards so the leaves appear narrower than they are.
The one to several flowers are at the tips of the stems and are held aloft on thin, erect pedicels from 1.5-2.5 cm long. The pedicels are reddish and glabrous. The sepals are ovate in shape and 2-3 mm long with sparsely ciliate margins. The bowl-shaped flowers are deep pinkish-rose and up to 12 mm wide. The 10 stamens as well as the style are about as long as the corolla.
Alpine laurel may be found in alpine bogs and moist meadows. Plants tend to like their "feet" wet.
Alpine laurel may be found from Alaska south through the Cascade Mts. to the Sierra Nevada Mts. of California and east to the Yukon and south through the Rocky Mts. through eastern British Columbia to Colorado.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between elevations of 2700'-4000' from the heads of the creeks flowing north to the Columbia River from the high ground east of Larch Mt. eastward to Mt. Defiance.
.The photo above shows a close-up view of the flowers of alpine laurel as seen in a moist meadow at about 4400' on the ridgetop between the Dairy Creek and Cougar Creek drainages...............May 29, 2005.