Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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A frequent small shrub of flatwoods, scrub and coastal swales in the panhandle and northern Florida, south into Lake and Hernando Counties. The range includes Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
Wicky typically blooms from spring to early fall either solitary or in clusters of two to three flowers that are more often pink, but sometimes white. The five petals are fused into a cup shape with 10 stamens initially held under tension with the anthers tucked into small - sometimes reddish - pockets that form a circle in the bottom of the cup. When a pollinator lands on the flower, the spring-loaded stamens are released spreading pollen onto the insect. The very small leaves are simple and entire, alternate, elliptic, oval or oblanceolate, 5-15mm (< 2/3 in.) long and 2-8mm (<1/3 in.) wide, with tiny hairs. The fruit is a rounded capsule 2-3mm (<1/8 in.) in diameter.
Kalmia hirsuta is differentiated from K. latifolia by the hairy leaves and short stature, usually less than 0.6 m (2 ft.), but sometimes as tall as 1m (39 in.).