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Nipmuck Laurel Sanctuary LbNA #4448

Plant date:Jun 21, 2003
Planted by:Painterly and 46R Contact Inactive
Found by: quiltjoy
Last found:Jul 9, 2024
Last edited:Dec 20, 2015
From Hartford take I-84 East to Exit 72 turn North (left) onto Route 89
Follow to intersection of Route 89 and Route 190.
Turn west (left) onto 190.It is approx 1/10 mile to the Nipmuck State
Forest Laurel Sanctuary.

Mountain Laurel (botanical name Kalmia latfolia) is a evergreen shrub in eastern North America with leathery poisonious leaves and clusters of pink or white flowers. It was named in honor of Peter Kalm, a Swedish botanist by the man who invented the naming system for plants, Carl Linnaeus. It is also called calico bush, lamb kill, and spoonwood. Native Americans used the wood for spoons. The wood has a fine grain, carves nicely and takes a good polish. The wood is often gnarled so you can find a place where the wood bends, making it easier to carve the spoon.

The first known written record of mountain Laurel is in John Smith’s General History of Virginia, published in 1624. Henry Hudson may have been referring to mountain laurel when he wrote of rose trees on Cape Cod.

On April 17, 1907 the Mountain Laurel was adopted as Connecticut’s state flower. Little was recorded about its adoption, except that 3,000 women signed petitions endorsing it.

If you examine the flowers closely you can see they form a tiny “bee trap”. The long filaments of the stamen are lightly attached to the flower. When a bee lands on the petal, the stamen are released and the bee is covered in pollen. (You can try to be a bee by touching the flower and watch the stamen release!)

To find the letterbox, follow the dirt road into the Sanctuary.

At 0.2 mi you will pass the Welcome sign on right. At 0.4 miles you will find a 2001 reconstruction of a CCC Fire Pond. Stop and read the history of the ponds. At 0.5 mile, there is a picnic area with a huge oak tree. At 0.7 mile there is a contemplative poem sign on the right. At 0.75 mile there is a sign about Mountain Laurel. The centennial was celebrated in 2005.

Park here (or at the turn out further down the road).

From the Sign Sight a large rock at about 275 degrees (all measurements are Magnetic North) Walk 25 steps toward the rock. Stop and turn to the left and note the “tunnel path” into the Mountain Laurel. Walk to the tunnel. Begin counting steps at the tunnel entrance. (each foot is a step). 8 steps takes you through the tunnel, and another 25 steps should take you to a lone white birch tree.
Sight an oak tree at about 180 degrees and 30 steps away.

Your reward is under a pile of rocks behind the oak.

Sign in and return to the sanctuary to enjoy the beautiful flowers.
This is our first box. Please let us know if you enjoyed the sanctuary and if the box needs any attention.

The Mountain laurel is usually in full bloom from the second week in June through the first week of July. The year (2003) we planted the box, it was still not in full bloom on June 21st. Please go enjoy this special sanctuary.