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Kalmia angustifolia - L.                
                 
Common Name Sheep Laurel
Family Ericaceae
Synonyms
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  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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 2. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


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.

Kalmia angustifolia Sheep Laurel


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Botanical_Magazine,_Plate_331_%28Volume_10,_1796%29.png
Kalmia angustifolia Sheep Laurel
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jomegat
   
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].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200235
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Kate Mon Sep 17 2007
How can you permanently get rid of this particular plant?
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Subject : Kalmia angustifolia  
             

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