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Woody > Prunus > Prunus caroliniana > Prunus caroliniana

Prunus caroliniana

Carolina Cherry Laurel

Origin:  Native to United States of America, more specifically North Carolina to Florida and west from Louisiana to Texas.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


A very hardy and showy tree or shrub when it's white/creamy flowers are in bloom during spring, producing a very strong fragrance. The blue/black berries may look appealing but the plant can be invasive and is spread easily. The fruit contain prussic acid so they should not be planted in areas where children or livestock are present.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen), Shrub (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
7 - 9
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
H6 - H3
Temperature (°C)
(-15) - (-1)
Temperature (°F)
5 - 30
6-12 m
4-6 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
A hardy tree, large masses of white flowers with dense, green foliage.
Perfect for naturalizing, low maintenance gardens or street trees due to hardiness and drought tolerance.
Very hardy tree can grow in part shade/part sun, full shade or full sun. Prefers a well drained, high pH soil. Very drought/salt tolerant when established but chlorosis or death may occur it it is planted in an area that is too wet.
Pyramidal when young, rounded crown with age.
ID Characteristic
Creamy white flowers in clusters, producing a strong fragrance.
Mites, borers, and caterpillars. Plum Pox: Symptoms may be confused with other diseases/disorders such as nutrient deficiencies or pesticide injuries. PPV symptoms can occur on leaves, flowers and/or fruit. Faint yellow rings or lines may be found on the leaves. PPV generally does not cause plant mortality however, can reduce the plant productivity and longevity. How to Reduce the Spread and Impact of PPV: 1. Propagate vulnerable Prunus trees and shrubs outside of the affected area a. Isolation is important to protect clean plants from future spread of the disease. b. Propagating and growing vulnerable plants away from the virus-infected area reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading any further. This should be as far away from the quarantined area and any potential sources of the virus. 2. Propagate Prunus plants with virus-free Budwood and Rootstock from virus tested mother trees a. This eliminates the propagation link for viral diseases. 3. Inspect vulnerable Prunus for symptoms a. All Prunus shrubs and trees should be visually inspected for symptoms at lease twice per year and conducted by trained personnel familiar with the virus. b. Any plants found to be infected should not be moved or sold and must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency immediately. c. Inspections should not be conducted in periods of hot weather (temperatures over 30˚C). 4. Manage aphid vectors a. Aphids are extremely attracted to suckers (vegetative shoots at the base of the tree), these should be removed to avoid aphid colonization, feeding or migration. 5. Plant tolerant and resistant varieties a. When available, grow plum pox tolerant or resistant Prunus varieties.
Bark/Stem Description
Smooth, grey-reddish brown, horizontal elongated lenticels, developing splits and cracks with age.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Oval, darker reddish colour, contain multiple scales growing in clusters at the internodes of the shoot. As buds open early spring, large clusters of small, green/reddish flower buds grow in a cone shape.
Leaf Description
10 cm length, 2.5 cm wide, alternate, simple, shiny green leaves on top and a lighter underside with pinnate venation. Contains ‘Prussic Acid’, toxic to livestock and children.
Flower Description
5-8 cm, fragrant, white/creamy flower, 5 petals on racemes, with numerous stamens, very showy.
Fruit Description
Small, round, green colour when young, ripening into a blue-black when adult, berries, drupe, 1 cm in diameter. Attracts birds and other small animals, may be poisonous if consumed by humans.
Colour Description
Yellowish/shiny dark green leaves colour depending on soil pH. Spring flowers are white/creamy on dense foliage, with green fruit in spring and blue/black when ripened in summer.
Texture Description
Medium texture throughout seasons.
Notable Specimens
University of Florida, Environmental Horticulture Nurseries, Florida, United States of America.
Seedlings are scattered and self germinate by birds and other small animals. To propagate using a cutting, remove a hardwood stem tip in autumn placing them in 18-21°C soil temperature, allowing 4-6 weeks for rooting time. Grafting is best done in spring from April - May, just as buds begin to open.