The Beauty of Cherry Laurel

Apr 8, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We have several native members of the genus Prunus in South Carolina. We’ve talked a good bit about the one that’s getting attention now for its unsightliness – black cherry, Prunus serotina, the favorite larval food source for the eastern tent caterpillars whose webs are highly visible. 

Prunus caroliniana, with the common name cherry laurel, has a different look. It’s evergreen and has dense, shiny foliage that provides cover and shelter for wildlife. Eventually it can reach heights of thirty feet but mostly you see it as a large shrub. Right now it’s covered with racemes of white flowers attractive to pollinators. These are followed by deep purple/black fruits, hundreds of them, and they seed down like mad. This is a native tree that is somewhat of a nuisance as animals devour and deposit the seeds all over the place.