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Is this mountain laurel or rhododendron? Seems no one is sure. Grows in USDA hardiness zone 7b. Lower shrub limbs laying on ground typically take root and extend growth area. Plants easily make it to 6 ft (2m) height if not pruned. Blooms in April/May each spring in our area. Plants are located in partially shaded area under trees and require little to no care other than pruning from time to time.

Why am I asking now? Thinking about giving some to my son and he has very rocky infertile ground. From what I have read that sounds great for mountain laurel and not so much for rhododendron.

Mountain Laurel OR Rhodendendron shrub Mountain Laurel or Rhodendendron Blooms

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Look at the petals:
You can see that your specimen has five separate petals per flower.

Which means this is not mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). Mountain laurel has petals that are fused together to form the flowers that - completely unscientifically put - look a bit like a margarita glass.

The five petals and thick dark leaves in whirls / clusters show that you have a member of the rhododendron family. (Not an azalea, though, because I can see more than five stamens.)

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