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Zones 4-9, 14-24
Full Sun
Minimal Water

Prunus lusitanica

Portugal Laurel
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries


This rich genus includes everything from English laurel to flowering apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums. (For edible varieties, see individual listings for apricot, cherry, peach, plum, and plum hybridss.)

Ornamental species and forms can be divided into two categories: evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen types are used chiefly as hedges, screens, shade trees, street trees. Deciduous flowering trees and shrubs, closely related to the fruit trees mentioned above, are valued for their winter or spring floral display as well as for attractive shape and for foliage form, texture, and sometimes even fall color. Many of these deciduous kinds offer a bonus of edible fruit.

Prunus lusitanica

From Spain and Portugal.Densely branched shrub 10–20 ft. tall and wide; or multi-trunked tree to 30 ft. tall andwide. Trained to a single trunk,it is used as a formal streettree. Narrowly oval, glossy darkgreen leaves to 5 in. long.Small, creamy white flowers in5–10-in. spikes bloom in springand early summer; these arefollowed by clusters of verysmall, bright red to dark purplefruit. Attractive backgroundplant, screen. Slower growerthan P. laurocerasus and moretolerant of heat, strong sunlight,wind. Little or no water. ‘Variegata’ has leaves with narrow, irregular white margins and fruit that ripens from red to black.

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