We have over 100,000 visitors each month, but in the whole of 2013 less than £1,000 was raised from donations. We rely on donations and cannot continue to maintain our database and website unless this increases considerably in 2014. Please make a donation today. More information on our financial position >>>
Search Page Content
   Bookmark and Share
   
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

Kalmia latifolia - L.                
                 
Common Name Mountain Laurel
Family Ericaceae
Synonyms K. lucida.
Known Hazards The foliage is poisonous to animals[21, 65, 76]. The whole plant is highly toxic[222]. Cases of poisoning have occurred when livestock or game birds have been eaten after they have ingested this plant[238].
Habitats Rich rocky, or dry gravelly woods in the shade of deciduous trees, and swamps in acid soils[43]. Prefers sandy or rocky soils[235].
Range Eastern N. America - New England to New York south to W. Florida.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Kalmia latifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to 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 latifolia Mountain Laurel


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Botanical_Magazine,_Plate_175_%28Volume_5,_1792%29.png
Kalmia latifolia Mountain Laurel
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge;
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;  Antifungal;  Antipsoriatic;  Antiviral;  Astringent;  Narcotic;  Salve;  Sedative;  Skin.

Mountain 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]. Because of its toxicity, it is a remedy that is seldom used in modern herbalism[238], but the leaves have been used externally in herbal medicine and are a good remedy for many skin diseases and inflammation[4]. The leaves are analgesic, astringent, disinfectant, narcotic, salve and sedative[257]. An infusion of the leaves is used as a disinfectant wash and liniment to treat pain, scratches, rheumatism, inflammations and to get rid of body parasites[257]. Used internally, the leaves have a splendid effect in the treatment of active haemorrhages, diarrhoea and flux[4, 21, 61]. They are also used in the treatment of syphilis, inflammatory fevers, neuralgia, paralytic conditions, tinnitus and angina[238]. The leaves should be used with great caution however, and only under the guidance of a qualified practitioner[238]. Excess doses cause vertigo, headache, loss of sight, salivation, thirst, nausea, palpitations, slow pulse and difficulty in breathing[238]. See also the notes above on toxicity. Antifungal [303].
Other Uses
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Wood.

A yellow-tan dye is obtained from the leaves[106]. The plant can be grown as an informal hedge[200]. Wood - heavy, hard, strong but rather brittle. It weighs 44lb per cubic foot and is used for making small implements, tool handles etc[21, 46, 61, 82, 235]. The roots are used to make spoons etc, these are fashioned when the wood is green and soft, when dry they become very hard and smooth[207]. The wood is a good fuel[46, 61].
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 plant[11], there are many named varieties[182]. This species is not very easy to grow well in Britain, it probably prefers a more continental climate[11]. This species is the state flower of Connecticut[238]. Slow to rejuvenate if the plant is cut back[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].
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1143200
                                                                                 
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.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[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.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[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.
[207]Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
[235]Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[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.
[303]PDR (Physicians' Desk Reference) Staff PDR for Herbal Medicines
Fourth Edition

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Dennis Tue Aug 22 2006
Very informative site! Has there ever been any testing on the decay resistence or durability of Kalmia latifolia?
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
     
                                                                                 
Add a comment/link                                         

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Kalmia latifolia  
             

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site
Details