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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Prunus lusitanica - Portugal Laurel

The Portugal Laurel is a nice large flowering shrub or small multi-stemmed tree growing 12-15' tall but can be up to 30+ feet. Planted for its wonderful floral display late spring. It's a pretty invisible plant but comes to life with the flower display in May. Saw one the other day that was pruned hard into a low shrub, pretty impressive floral display.



Leaves are evergreen, simple, alternate, narrowly ovate to lanceolate shaped, 3-5" long, serrated margins and are dark green and leathery.



Notice the young branches and petioles are reddish.



Flowers are borne on a long 5-10" thin panicle with tons of individual small white flowers.




Small reddish to black fruit, not usually eaten by humans, but the birds will strip a tree in a day.



The fruit in October.



Misidentification:
maybe another prunus, there are enough of them, but not likely in bloom, the rest of the white evergreen prunus have much shorter flower stalks and the fruit is smaller than most and seems to be more egg-shaped.

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
Cabrillo Campus in the lawn behind the Sesnon House.

Scotts Valley
Civic Center Drive at MacDorsa Park

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