Botanical Name: Prunus caroliniana
Common Name: Carolina Cherry Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Mock Orange, Carolina Cherry, Wild Peach
Description: The Carolina Cherry Laurel species is native to Florida where it thrives with the regular rainfall and acidic soils. It tolerates heat, drought, and wind very well.
Cherry Laurel is a large evergreen shrub or small tree with dark glossy green leaves. It grows in deep, moist but well-drained bottomlands. It is fast-growing to 15-25′ tall and wide, with very old shrubs/trees reaching 30-35′ tall. The beautiful, glossy evergreen leaves casts dense shade. With age the bark becomes almost black. Versatile in where it grows: sun, part sun, part shade. Blooms fragrant tiny white flowers in the spring. The leaves and fruit have a high concentration of hydrocyanic acid and are potentially poisonous to humans.
Provides winter and extreme weather cover for birds and small animals. Host plant for Coral Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple, Spring/Summer Azures, and Viceroy butterflies. This is also a larval host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Adult butterflies source nectar from the spring flowers and bees source the pollen. Its fruits are produced in September to October and are eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, raccoons, foxes, and small mammals. White-tailed deer browse foliage.
Looks amazing grown as a hedge, but does not like to be heavily pruned. It looks much better if left to grow to its natural pyramidical shape.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.
This plant in 7-gallon containers is 3-5′ tall
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 10