mountain laurel with pink and white flowers in full bloom
Photo: A. Barra
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Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Why we grow it: A close cousin to azaleas and rhododendrons, mountain laurel is a shrub with large, round flower heads ranging from a reddish pink to white in color. It grows in tall thickets that also cover a large area of ground, making it a choice foundation plant to boost curb appeal.

Deadly parts: Leaves, twigs, flowers, and pollen.

Toxic toll: Mountain laurel parts are full of andromedotoxins, which go to town on your gastrointestinal tract. Watering of the mouth, eyes, and nose are common, as is shortness of breath and slow heartbeat. Kidney failure can occur, as well as convulsions, paralysis, coma, and death.
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