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Cherry Laurel

Prunus laurocerasus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
6 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
White, in erect racemes up to 12cm long. 5 petals.
Clusters of cherry-like, purplish-black globular berries. Each berry contains a seed. This plant is called Cherry Laurel because the fruit look like cherries and the leaves look like Laurel.
An evergreen shrub. Thick, dark green, shiny, leathery leaves. The undersides of the leaves are pale green. Not hairy.
When bruised it gives out Hydrogen Cyanide and smells of bitter almonds.
Other Names:
Common Laurel, English Laurel, Laurel Cherry.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Prunus laurocerasus, also known as cherry laurel, common laurel, or English laurel, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. It is a member of the Rosaceae family. The shrub can grow up to 6m tall and has glossy, dark green leaves that are leathery and glossy. It produces small white flowers in clusters in spring, and black berries in summer. It is commonly used as a hedge plant in gardens and landscaping due to its lush foliage and fast growth. The leaves of P. laurocerasus have been used for centuries as a culinary herb, particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, and is also used as a medicinal plant. The tree is poisonous if ingested, specially the leaves and bark, as it contains cyanide compounds which are dangerous to human and pets.


Cherry Laurel, also known as Prunus laurocerasus, is a beautiful evergreen shrub that is widely grown for its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. This plant is native to parts of Asia and Europe and is commonly used as a hedge or screen plant due to its dense growth habit.

Appearance and Characteristics

Cherry Laurel is a fast-growing shrub that can grow up to 20 feet tall, but it is usually maintained at a much shorter height. It has glossy, dark green leaves that are 3-6 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. The leaves are evergreen, meaning they stay on the plant year-round. The plant also produces small white flowers in the spring that have a fragrant, sweet smell. These flowers are followed by small black or red berries in the fall that are toxic to humans and pets.

Growing Requirements

Cherry Laurel is a relatively low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in most soils. It prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and is tolerant of a wide range of pH levels. It also thrives in full sun to partial shade, making it a versatile plant that can be grown in many different locations.

One of the great things about Cherry Laurel is its ability to withstand drought once it is established. However, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist during the first year after planting to help the plant get established.


Cherry Laurel is a popular choice for hedges, screens, and borders due to its dense growth habit and attractive foliage. It can also be used as a specimen plant or as a backdrop for other plants in a mixed border. Additionally, it is often used as a foundation plant, as it can provide a nice green background to other plants or structures.

Another great use for Cherry Laurel is as a privacy screen. Due to its dense growth habit and ability to grow to a relatively tall height, it can be used to block out unwanted views or to create a barrier between different areas of a garden.

Cherry Laurel is a beautiful and versatile shrub that is well-suited for many different growing conditions. With its attractive foliage, fragrant flowers, and ability to grow in a variety of locations, it is a great choice for anyone looking for a low-maintenance plant that can provide a variety of different uses in the landscape. However, it is important to note that the berries of this plant are toxic, so it is not recommended for areas where children or pets may come into contact with them.

More Information about Cherry Laurel

Cherry Laurel is not only an attractive and versatile plant, but it also has some interesting historical and cultural significance. In ancient Greece, the leaves of the Cherry Laurel were used to make wreaths for victorious athletes and scholars. The plant was also used in medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, fevers, and skin conditions.

Today, Cherry Laurel is still used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. It is believed to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to treat conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and arthritis.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Cherry Laurel has also been used in culinary applications. The leaves of the plant can be used to add flavor to stews, soups, and sauces. However, it is important to note that the leaves should be used sparingly, as they can be toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Cherry Laurel is a fascinating plant with a rich history and many practical applications. Whether you are looking to add some privacy to your garden, create a beautiful hedge, or simply enjoy the fragrant flowers and glossy leaves, this versatile shrub is definitely worth considering. Just be sure to take care around the berries and use caution when using the leaves in cooking or medicine.

Cherry Laurel is also a popular plant for attracting wildlife to the garden. The fragrant flowers of the plant are attractive to bees and other pollinators, while the dense growth habit and evergreen foliage provide a great hiding place for birds and other small animals.

In terms of maintenance, Cherry Laurel is relatively easy to care for. It does not require pruning, although it can be shaped if desired. However, if the plant does become overgrown, it can be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.

One thing to keep in mind when growing Cherry Laurel is that it can be susceptible to some pests and diseases. Spider mites and scale insects can sometimes be a problem, as can fungal diseases such as leaf spot and powdery mildew. However, these issues can usually be prevented or treated with good cultural practices such as proper watering, fertilization, and sanitation.


Cherry Laurel filmed around the Chorley area of Lancashire in January 2023.


Music credits
Beach Bum - Happy Rock by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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