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Persea_borbonia - (L.)Spreng.

Common Name Red Bay, Sweetbay
Family Lauraceae
USDA hardiness 7-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sandy to rich moist soils of low woodlands, coastal forests, along the sides of bogs, streams and swamps[229]. Sometimes found in dry sandy areas in Florida[229].
Range South-eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, west to Texas.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Persea_borbonia Red Bay, Sweetbay


USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Persea_borbonia Red Bay, Sweetbay
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Green, White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Persea_borbonia is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft 3in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

The fresh or dried leaves can be used as a flavouring in soups etc[229].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Red bay was widely employed medicinally by the Seminole Indians who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially as an emetic and body cleanser[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The leaves are abortifacient, analgesic, antirheumatic, appetizer, emetic and febrifuge[257]. An infusion can be used to abort a foetus up to the age of four months[257]. An infusion is also used in treating fevers, headaches, diarrhoea, thirst, constipation, appetite loss and blocked urination[257]. A strong decoction is emetic and was used as a body purification when treating a wide range of complaints[257]. A decoction of the leaves is used externally as a wash on rheumatic joints and painful limbs[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Wood - hard, heavy, close-grained, very strong, rather brittle[82, 229, 235]. It weighs 40lb per cubic foot[235]. The wood works well and is suitable for interior uses such as cabinets, but trees with large straight trunks are not sufficiently common to make the tree of commercial interest[229].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Seashore, Specimen, Street tree. We have found no cultivation details for this species in Britain, though the tree is likely to require a well-drained light to medium soil in a sunny sheltered position[K]. It is only likely to be hardy in the mildest areas of the country[11]. Special Features:Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 12 through 8. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a standard with a non-suckering single trunk [1-2]. An evergreen.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first 2 winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and give some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

NORTHERN AMERICA: United States, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware (south), Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland (southeast), Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia (southeast), Texas, SOUTHERN AMERICA: Bahamas,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Persea borboniaRed Bay, SweetbayTree15.0 7-11 MLMNM122

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

(L.)Spreng.

Botanical References

229235270

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Tue Dec 11 2007

Note This plant if protected from wind is cold tolerant down to 10 degrees farenheight.Once established its quite hardy.This tree also withstands heat.

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