Water-Saving Native Plant of the Week: Laurel Cherry

By: Woodlands Water | Published 11/16/2020

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THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Water-Saving Native Plant of the Week by Bob Dailey: Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana). This small tree grows from the East Coast to central Texas. Carolina laurel cherry is a dense shrub or small tree, 15-36 ft. tall, with a pyramidal to oval outline. Leaves are firm, smooth, evergreen, narrowly elliptic, tapered to a pointed tip and equally tapered to the base. Upper surface is dark green and shiny, the lower surface lighter and duller. The leaves have a taste suggestive of almond flavoring and are poisonous when eaten which discourages deer. Flowers are white to cream, about 3/16 inch wide, in showy elongate clusters among the leaves, opening from February to April. Fruit is fleshy, but with a thin pulp, black, 1/2 inch long by 3/8 inch wide, egg shaped with a small tip, and persistent through winter. A handsome, evergreen, ornamental and large hedge plant in southeastern North America. The greatest use of Cherry laurel is for providing a nearly carefree, dark green visual screen. Birds love the dry fruit. Grows well in any well drained soil with a thick mulch layer.

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