This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"H." writes: "I have been looking over some old numbers of the Horticulturist, and been reading up the various articles signed 'Thomas Meehan.' One on page 169, volume for 1856, is only signed T. M., and in it I see you do not agree with the opinion (or at least did not then) that the leaves of Kalmia latifolia are poisonous to animals. I firmly believe in it, but shall not trouble you with my reasons until I know that you are still a doubter".
[This subject has been gone over pretty well lately, but still we are not convinced, simply because we do not regard the evidence warrants the belief that it is. It may be poisonous, but the fact that some sheep have died after eating it, does not prove it. Some people have died after eating oysters, and it is said King Henry VIII. died after eating strawberries.
If there are any poisonous properties in Kalmia, chemistry ought to show it. In former correspondence we suggested that it would be much better to have a chemical analysis made of the leaves than to have so many letters with our correspondents' opinions, or even our own. Mr. W. F. Bassett was sensible enough to see the point, and sent a good bundle to the Illinois Industrial University. We have the following letter before us:
Champaign, Ill., Aug. 7, 1882.
My Dear Sir: - I just notice that a communication addressed to you last March, about Kal-mia leaves, was not mailed. A chemical analysis was made of the leaves you kindly sent in February, but no poisonous substance was found. Regretting the delay, I am Very truly yours, T. J. Burrill.
We must, therefore, still express the opinion that we have no more evidence that the Kalmia is poisonous now, than had " T. M." a quarter of a century ago. - Ed. G. M].