Paul Smiths VIC -- Sheep Laurel blooming on Barnum Bog (16 June 2012)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Sheep Laurel blooming in Barnum Bog at the Paul Smiths VIC (2 July 2011) Adirondack Wildflowers: Sheep Laurel blooming in Barnum Bog at the Paul Smiths VIC (2 July 2011)

Sheep Laurel is a low evergreen shrub which bears a cluster of deep pink flowers from late spring to midsummer. Each of the small, saucer-shaped flowers has five dark pink petals and ten stamens. The flowers appear underneath the new leaves and the flower cluster encircles the stem. The leaves below the flowers are darker. The plant grows about three feet tall. Sheep Laurel is a member of the Heath family.

The genus name (Kalmia) is in honor of Peter Kalm, a student of Linnaeus. Kalm was a Swedish-Finish botanist and naturalist who traveled and collected plants in the Americas during the 18th century.

The flowers of the Sheep Laurel plant are similar to those of Bog Laurel. However, the Bog Laurel flowers appear on the top of the stem, while those of the Sheep Laurel bloom several inches from the top of the stem, below a whorl of new, light green leaves. The plant is also known as Lambkill -- a reference to the fact that the foliage is poisonous to livestock.

Sheep Laurel is found in bogs and in moist soils along woodlands. It grows in Ontario east to Newfoundland and in the US south to Virginia.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Sheep Laurel blooming on Barnum Bog at the Paul Smiths VIC (16 June 2012)Adirondack Wildflowers: Sheep Laurel blooming on Barnum Bog at the Paul Smiths VIC (16 June 2012)

Sheep Laurel is found in Barnum Bog at the Paul Smiths VIC, where it can be seen from the boardwalk on the Boreal Life Trail. Sheep Laurel usually begins blooming in early June at the VIC.

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.