The Real Paul Jones

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Confusion of Names: Laurel and Ivy

Paul, · Categories: General

Lost a bet of a sort over local mountain terms for plants this weekend whilst up in Ashe County (Note: Ashe County is a long ways from Asheville but both are in the NC mountains).
Our host claimed that what we call “laurel” is called “ivy” and what we call “Rhodendron” is called “laurel.” Seemed to wrong to let pass.
But when we checked with the highest possible authority — C. Richie Bell’s Wild Flowers of North Carolina. We found he was right.
Mountain Laurel aka Kalmia latifolia is widely called Ivy and Rhododendron maximum is known as Great Laurel. The pink to red or purple flowered Rhododendron catawbiense is still called Rhododendron, but both Rhodos are some times called Rosebay.

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