Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia

Mountain Laurel


This evergreen, round-topped shrub is used in gardens as an ornamental plant. The large terminal clusters of flowers are borne on sticky, hairy stems and range in colour from rose to white. Children have been poisoned by chewing on the leaves, sucking the juice from the blossoms, or by making a tea. The foliage is especially toxic. Honey, when made by bees in the area where mountain laurel is grown, has been found to be poisonous. This dangerously poisonous plant generally produces symptoms in about six hours. They consist of nausea, intense abdominal pains, vomiting, repeated swallowing, and watering of the eyes, nose, and mouth. In more severe cases breathing becomes difficult; the heartbeat is slower. There is depression, prostration, convulsions, paralysis of the arms and legs, coma, and possible death within twelve to fourteen hours.