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Prunus laurocerasus - Cherry laurel

Prunus laurocerasus is a vigorous, large, spreading evergreen shrub which can grow if left over 20 or more years to a height of between 4 and 8m, and over 8m in width. However it is tolerant to cutting and regenerates well. Easy to grow in any moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade it has a low maintenance requirement. It is a hardy shrub able to tolerate temperatures down to as low as minus 20 centigrade.

It has handsome, glossy dark green leaves which grow up to 15cm in length. The leaves are thick and leathery to the touch with a slender and broadly elliptical shape, making it an excellent shrub for providing drought resistant hedging and screens.

It produces small white flowers in erect racemes up to 12cm in length between May and June which are followed by cherry-like glossy red fruits which soon turn to black.

Also known as English Laurel and Common Laurel.

Other varieties are available such as P. laurocerasus Caucasica, and Rotundifolia.

FACT: There is enough poison within the leaves to enable them to be used by etymologists as a way of killing insect specimens without physical damage.

Plant Profile

Name: Prunus laurocerasus

Common Name: Cherry laurel

Family: Rosaceae

Height: up to 8 metres

Width: up to over 8 metres

Demands: Requires moist but well drained soil, sun to partial shade, tolerates heat if not to dry, happy sheltered or exposed in any aspect

Foliage: Thick and leathery, slender to broadly elliptical. Evergreen

Flower: White upright racernes May-June

Fruit: Cherries, red turning to black

Toxicity: Leaves and fruit can be harmful if ingested

Hardiness: Hardy in most of the UK even in severe winters

Prunus laurocerasus info sheet

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