Sheep laurel

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Kalmia angustifolia L.

Common name(s): sheep laurel, American sheep-laurel, lambkill, lambkill kalmia, wicky

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile , NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial shrub

– generally flowers May to July in ME

-Short, erect, woody shrub

-grows up to 3′ tall

-Persistent leaves in whorls of three

  • oblong
  • dark green above
  • light green below and waxy
  • 1″-2.5″ long 1/4″-7/8″ wide
  • turn brownish in fall

-Flowers crimson 1/4″-1/2″ wide, set in a cluster 3/4 up the stem.






-rocky slopes



Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Go Botany. “Kalmia Angustifolia L.” Kalmia Angustifolia (Sheep American-Laurel, Sheep-Laurel): Go Botany, 2021,