Name: Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Other names: common laurel and sometimes English laurel
Higher classification: Prunus
Description: Prunus laurocerasus is an evergreen shrub or small to medium-sized tree, growing to 5 to 15 metres (16 to 49 ft) tall, rarely to 18 metres (59 ft), with a trunk up to 60 cm broad. The leaves are dark green, leathery, shiny, (5–)10–25(–30) cm long and 4–10 cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The leaves can have the scent of almonds when crushed. The flower buds appear in early spring and open in early summer in erect 7–15 cm racemes of 30–40 flowers, each flower 1 cm across, with five creamy-white petals and numerous yellowish stamens with a sweet smell. The fruit is a small cherry 1–2 cm broad, turning black when ripe in early autumn.
Distribution: Native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania and Bulgaria east through Turkey to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Iran.
Habitat: The species is found in woods and in shrubbery places as an escape in Northern Ireland and commonly planted in parks and gardens.
Invasive Nature: It has become naturalized widely. In some regions (such as the United Kingdom and the Pacific Northwest of North America), this species can be an invasive plant. Its rapid growth, coupled with its evergreen habit and its tolerance of drought and shade, often allow it to out-compete and kill off native plant species. It is spread by birds, through the seeds in their droppings.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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