A large patch of sheep laurel can be found near the pool in Mustila’s Tuijalaakso (White-cedar Valley). The low evergreen shrubs flower in July, when the leaf axils near the tips of the shoots are filled with small, open vase-shaped, rose-red flowers crowned with new foliage.
Sheep laurel grows naturally in the eastern parts of North America in poor soil, in forests, on moors, mires and rocks. The English common names clearly indicate the poisonous properties of the plant.
The Kalmia genus was named by Carl von Linné after his Finnish apostle Pehr (or Pietari) Kalm. Linné sent Kalm on a four-year exploration of North America in the mid-1700s, from which he returned with several hundred plants, among them sheep laurel and mountain laurel, also called calico bush (Kalmia latifolia).