Mountain Laurels are blooming: Where to see the Pa state flower

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Mountain Laurels (Photo Credit: Steven Shaw)

(WTAJ) — Pennsylvania’s state flower, the mountain laurel, is in bloom, leading the way for festivals and offering some beautiful sites.

The mountain laurel became the state flower of Pa. in 1933 when the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed two bills dealing with the state flower. It was decided by Governor Gifford Pinchot to make the mountain laurel the state flower over the pink azalea.

Festivals happening June 12-20

  • The Wellsboro festival was first started in 1938. From June 12 to June 20, there will be many activities throughout the week such as an arts and crafts fair, a laurel queen pageant, parades and concerts.
  • The Brookeville Laurel Festival will also be from June 12 to June 20. Activities for this festival include concerts, sportsman’s night, races, quilt show, sidewalk sales, chicken barbecue, weightlifting competition, car and bike show, fireworks and parade.

Mountain Laurel Hikes

Tiadaghton State Forest

  • Bear Paw Hike – June 12 at 1 p.m. The 2.5-mile hike will be on the Bear Paw Ski Trail along Sand Springs Road through a patch of mountain laurel.
  • Pump Station Hike – June 18 at 10 a.m. The hike starts at the Forestry Maintenance yard just off Pa-44.
  • Driving Tour- June 19 at 10 a.m. The tour will start at the Tiadaghton Resource Management Center. There will be stops along the tour for participants to get a better look at the flowers.

Poe Valley

  • June 12 at 1 p.m. The hike is 1-mile and will start at the Poe Valley Office.
  • June 26 at 5 p.m. The hike is during pollinator week. It is a 1-mile hike and will start at the Poe Valley Office.

Ricketts Glen

  • June 26 at 8:30 a.m. The hike is 2-miles on the Grandview Trail. Participants are to park at the Shale Pit parking lot along Rt. 487.

For these events, participants must register ahead of time. More information on these events can be found on the DCNR website.

Even though these flowers may look pretty, they are very dangerous to humans and animals. People should avoid putting these flowers close to their mouths as they are known to cause paralysis and even sometimes death.

Contrary to popular belief, these flowers are not protected by law. “No one may remove any plant from public or private land without the landowner’s or land manager’s permission. But there are no legal restrictions on the cultivation of Mountain laurel” according to the DCNR.

The flowers bloom in late May through the middle of June reaching heights as tall as four to ten feet.

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