is a genus comprising about 8 species of flowering, evergreen shrubs in the family Ericaceae
, native to North America and Cuba. Kalmia is named after Finnish botanist Pehr Kalm.
Kalmia is suitable as a garden shrub, shrub borders or feature plant in a heather bed. The leaves are 2-12 cm long and arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are white, pink or purple. It has common names like lamb kill, sheep laurel and sheep poison as the foliage is toxin if eaten and sheep particularly, is prone to poisoning hence the names. It is advisable to plant Kalmia away from foraging animals due to the toxicity. Larvae of some Lepidoptera
species such as Coleophora kalmiella
feeds exclusively on Kalmia.
Plant Kalmia in partial shade, fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained acidic soil. It is trouble-free to grow. Propagation is through greenwood cuttings in late spring or semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Kalmia latifolia 'Clementine Churchill'
Kalmia angustifolia subsp. angustifolia