All parts of mountain laurel are poisonous to a variety of animals, including us. The hard wood was used to carve various small items, including spoons. Seems like there would have been a better choice. These shrubs would be one of the first things cleared if you were starting a farm, as Johann Dahle did. He was an early immigrant to the Dolly sods area. Johann became John Dolly, hence Dolly Sods. This high area is now a wildflower paradise.