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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prunus laurocerasus - English Laurel

The English Laurel is another big hedge gone wild, and like others, its not their fault, its ours. We plant them to be hedges and when the plants get over our head we can't prune them anymore, so they grow into what they want to be. Classic hedge for sure. Broadleaf evergreen 10-20' tall, easily wider, dense, can't say I have ever seen one grown by itself.



Leaves evergreen, simple, alternate (but forming such a uniform flat spray they often look opposite), obovate to oblong, 6-8" long, up to 2" wide, small accumulate tip, and lightly serrated margins. Medium to dark green upper surface. Two glands at the base of the petiole (typical of many Prunus). Leaves are toxic, do not eat them.



Flowers in narrow upright 4-6" racemes, individual flowers small, white and fragrant (though I am not a fan of the smell).





 Stems not thin, not thick, pointed lateral buds.



Fruit is a black drupe, about 1/2" diameter.



Often seen in colder climates as one of the dwarf cultivars which are considerably cold hardy. 'Otto Luyken' is very common.



Misidentification:
Can't think if any, large leaf with gland is pretty clear.

Prunus laurocerasus is the type species for the subgenus Laurocerasus or the cherry laurels. Others in this group include P. ilicifoliaP. lyoniiP. laurocerasusP. lusitanicaP. carolinana. They all have flowers that look and smell like these.

Location:
Aptos: 
Rio Del Mar Blvd and Clubhouse Drive on the corner.

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