Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.
- Family: Laurel (Lauraceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This evergreen tree may be distinguished by its smooth leaves, its dark blue or
black, spherical berries, and its hairy sepals and petals.
- Habitat: Moist to dry hammocks, woods, steep ravines, swamps, bayheads, bogs, low woods,
- Habit: Tree or shrub up to 65 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 3 feet; crown broad.
- Bark: Brownish gray, roughened.
- Twigs: Slender, smooth or sparsely hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, very aromatic when crushed, elliptic to lance-elliptic,
pointed or rounded at the tip, tapering to the base, without teeth, smooth on the upper surface,
smooth or sparsely hairy on the lower surface, paler on the lower surface, up to 5 inches long,
up to 2 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Few in small, axillary cymes; flower stalks hairy.
- Sepals: 3, free from each other, hairy, about 1/10 inch long.
- Petals: 3, free from each other, hairy, about 1/5 inch long.
- Stamens: 9-12.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Drupes spherical, dark blue or black, up to 1/2 inch in diameter; stalks of fruit red.
- Notes: The leaves of this tree are used in cooking as "bay leaves."
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