Plants and People Project

Mountain Laurel - Kalmia latifolia

"The Native Americans used the wood for fact, the name "spoonwood" has been used for this shrub. The wood carves nicely and the fine grain takes a good polish. The wood is also often gnarled so you can pick a place that bends the way you want your spoon or ladle to go!" Schoolyard Habitat

The Mountain Laurel is a small tree or shrub with evergreen leaves. Its lovely spring flowers are white or pink with streaks of pink to red.

Mountain laurel is poisonous. It sickens cattle that feed on it.

It was used by Native Americans as a medicine for many illnesses.


Kalmia augusfifolia is called Sheep's Laurel or Lambkill, because it poisons sheep, which feed on its leaves. It is the native form of the shrub. Many cultivars are available. Univ. Conn. Database of plants

This beautiful North American native shrub is the state flower of Pennsylvania and Connecticut.


DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

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Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel in bloom

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Posted 10/23/05 Cindy O'Hora