Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Mountain laurel was given its scientific name, Kalmia latifolia, by the father of the binomical naming system, Karl Linnaeus. who named it for one of his botany students, Peter Kalm. Kalm was sent to North American to look for plants that might have economic importance , and he sent Kalmia specimens to Sweden during his collecting trip to North America in the 1740’s. The specific epithet latifolia means broad leaf, although the leaves aren’t particularly broad when you look at them.