Years back, about eight or nine now I'd guess, I was traveling quite a bit to College Station, Texas to visit a geologist there. During one springtime visit, I noticed all of these purple-flowering small trees. During a trip to a local East Texas nursery in search of fruit trees, I discovered that these small trees were called Texas Mountain Laurel - and the very generous nursery owner as I was leaving gave me one to fly home with and plant in my coastal South Carolina garden. It started off as a small shrub about a 1' tall, and it is now about 9' tall and just gorgeous. I've had no disease or pest problems, and starting about three years ago, it's been blooming prolifically every spring. Another benefit is the fragrance - remember grape bubblicious gum from years back (I don't see it around anymore) - well, these flowers will make your yard smell like a couple of packs (maybe cases?) of that gum. Last summer I took the seed pods to Pete and his Dad at Pete's Herbs on Johns Island, and about 50% or so of them germinated (plus they ordered more) - so my hope is that in a few years we'll see this wonderful large shrub/small tree growing in some of Charleston's downtown gardens.