From a Sandy Bog

By William T. Hathaway

Lamb-kill (Kalmia angustifolia)

This little shrub (Kalmia angustifolia) has flowers that closely resemble flowers of our locally well-known Mountain Laurel. When I first encountered this species, I immediately recognized it as belonging to the Kalmia genus.

In a follow-up investigation I learned that the reason for its common name Lamb-kill was well deserved, since munching the leaves of this plant can be poisonous. An authoritative list of names for this species is as follows: Sheep-laurel, Lamb-kill, Narrow-leaved laurel, Calf-kill, etc. It seems sad that this attractive flowering shrub has a reputation as being poisonous to some animals.

I photographed this plant in a sandy bog near the Bladen Lake area of Bladen County, North Carolina during August 1970.

(See also this photograph in larger format.)