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Zones 4-9, 14-24
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Full
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Minimal

Prunus lusitanica

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

PRUNUS

Discussed here are ornamental members of the genus Prunus. Fruit trees belonging to this genus—collectively known as stone fruits—are described under their common names. See Almond; Apricot; Cherry; Peach and Nectarine; Plum (includes Prune); and Plum Hybrids.

Ornamental species and forms can be divided into two categories: evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen types are used chiefly as hedges, screens, shade trees, and 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 a multi-trunked tree to 30 ft. tall and wide. Trained to a single trunk, it is used as a formal street tree. Narrowly oval, glossy dark green leaves to 5 in. long. Small, creamy white flowers in 5–10-in. spikes bloom in spring and early summer; these are followed by clusters of very small, bright red to dark purple fruit. Attractive background plant or screen. Slower grower than P. laurocerasus and more tolerant of heat, strong sunlight, and 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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