Mountain laurel patches are difficult to walk through, but this time of year I can appreciate that pesky undergrowth because of its beautiful blossoms.
Of course, I am also fascinated with the mountain laurel's pollination system. I am always amazed when I see a flower's ten stamens all bent over, locked in, and waiting to catapult its pollen at a bee.
The booby-trap is set.
When a bee touches those spring-loaded stamens, they "fire" the pollen. You could say that the flowers sucker the bees in to face the "firing" squad for a bit of nectar.
Here several of the stamens fired and plastered the stick with pollen.
Most of the year mountain laurel is just a mess, but when I look at those locked in pollen launchers, I have to say that mountain laurel is lovely enough to live with.
A ring of "fire!" in each flower.
Ten mountain laurel launchers per flower.
Ten bee blasters.
With all those flowers, I'll bet the bees are having a blast!