The American Laurel.—Density of its Growth.—Its Resemblance to the Box.—A Name Derived from its Uses.—Description and Properties of its Wood.—Soil and Climate of Thrift.—Its Seed and Flower Described.—Care Necessary to its Raising.—Sheep Laurel.—A Contrasted Difference. — Properties of its Leaves.—The Great Laurel.—Region of its Abundance.—Climate and Situation Congenial to its Growth.—Its Attained Height.—Its Floral Productiveness.— The Rose Bay.—Its Elevated Home.—Its Diminutive Height.—Its Beautifying Advantages.—Soil Unfavorable to its Thrift.—The Carolina Laurel Described and Qualified.
This laurel has smaller leaves and flowers of a deeper red than the American laurel, and continues a longer time in bloom. This also goes by the name of sheep-kill, as a great many sheep die from the effects of eating its leaves; but Bryant explains this, and probably he is right, by saying that it is more from the indigestible nature of the leaves than from any poison contained in them.
This species is found in New England, but much more abundantly farther south; cool, moist, deeply shaded situations are most congenial to its growth. It is found mostly along mountain torrents, and in these favorable situations reaches the height of twenty-five or thirty feet; it bears a rose-colored flower with yellow dots on the inside, but sometimes the flowers are a pure white, with very thick leaves that are from four to ten inches long. Although a native of the Northern States, this tree is not cultivated as much as the rose bay.
This tree is a native of the highest summits of the Alleghanies, and is found scattered all along the mountainous region from the Catskills to the lowest edges of the Blue and Alleghany ridges. It is much smaller than the great laurel, as it seldom reaches the height of six feet, and is always cultivated for its beauty; it does not thrive in soils impregnated with lime; in transplanting, place in a bed of swamp-muck and rotten wood.