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Kalmia angustifolia - L.

Common Name Sheep Laurel
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The foliage is poisonous to animals[21, 65, 76]. The whole plant is highly toxic[222].
Habitats Acidic bogs and swamps[200].
Range Eastern N. America - Newfoundland to Hudson Bay, south to Georgia and Michigan. Nat in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Kalmia angustifolia Sheep Laurel


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Kalmia angustifolia Sheep Laurel
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jomegat

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Kalmia angustifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. It is in leaf all year, in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Astringent;  Narcotic;  Poultice;  Sedative.

Sheep laurel is a very poisonous narcotic plant the leaves of which were at one time used by some native North American Indian tribes in order to commit suicide[4]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The leaves are usually used externally as a poultice and wash in herbal medicine and are a good remedy for many skin diseases, sprains and inflammation[4, 257]. They can also be applied as a poultice to the head to treat headaches[257]. The singed, crushed leaves can be used as a snuff in the treatment of colds[257]. Used internally, the leaves are analgesic, astringent and sedative and have a splendid effect in the treatment of active haemorrhages, headaches, diarrhoea and flux[4, 21, 61, 257]. This species is said to be the best for medicinal use in the genus[4]. The plant should be used with great caution however, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Requires an acid humus-rich soil, succeeding in part shade[182] or in full sun in cooler areas. Prefers almost full sun[11]. Dislikes dry soils[182], requiring cool, permanently moist conditions at the roots[21]. Succeeds in open woodland or along the woodland edge[200]. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c[184]. A very ornamental and variable plant[11], there are many named varieties[200]. The flowers are produced at the end of the previous years growth[11]. Plants spread slowly by means of suckers[11]. Pruning is not normally necessary, though if older plants become bare at the centre they can be cut back hard and will regrow from the base[200].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in late winter in a cool greenhouse in light shade[78, 113]. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. The seedlings are rather sensitive to damping off, so water them with care, keep them well-ventilated and perhaps apply a fungicide such as garlic as a preventative. Grow the young plants on in light shade and overwinter them in the greenhouse for their first winter[78]. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed is dust-like and remains viable for many years[113]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Very poor results unless the cuttings are taken from very young plants[11, 78]. Layering in August/September. Takes 18 months[78]. The plants can also be dug up and replanted about 30cm deeper in the soil to cover up some of the branches. The plant can then be dug up about 12 months later when the branches will have formed roots and can be separated to make new plants[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Kalmia latifoliaMountain Laurel, Calico Bush, Ivy02
Kalmia polifoliaSwamp Laurel, Bog laurel02

 

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Botanical References

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Readers comment

Kate   Mon Sep 17 2007

How can you permanently get rid of this particular plant?

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