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Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.
Redbay, Red bay
Synonym(s): Persea littoralis, Tamala borbonia, Tamala littoralis
USDA Symbol: PEBO
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Red bay is a tall, evergreen shrub or short-trunked tree, reaching a maximum height of 65 ft. Form is dense and well-rounded. Handsome, aromatic, evergreen tree, with dense crown. The ascending branches are covered with a dense, rusty pubuscence and its aromatic leaves are leathery and narrowly oval. Pale-yellow flowers occur in small panicles from leaf axils and are followed by dark-blue to black fruit.
The wood, which takes a beautiful polish, is used for fine cabinetwork and also for lumber. The spicy leaves can be used to flavor soups and meats. Birds eat the bitter fruit. Swampbay (P. palustris (Raf.) Sarg.) is found in coastal swamps and characterized by twigs and lower leaf surfaces covered with rust-colored hairs.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, TX Native Distribution:
Coastal Plain from s. DE
and the Bahamas, w. to s.e. TX,
with an isolated population in central TX
in Travis County along Hamilton Creek. Native Habitat:
Low woods; coastal forests; bogs
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Laurel-like in habit and persistence, the aromatic foliage makes sweet bay a worthy ornamental.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Fruit
is eaten by several birds species. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds directly after collection of stratify and sow in spring.
Seed Collection: Gather fruits in the fall when they are dark blue to black. Remove pulp before storing. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers for up to one year.
Seed Treatment: Stratify in moist sand or peat for one month at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Plants for a Virginia Rain Garden
October 21, 2009
Can you recommend edible plants that would be appropriate for use in a rain garden? I'm located in Charlottesville, VA, but this can be in general as well.
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff