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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Persea borbonia (Redbay)
Cressler, Alan

Persea borbonia

Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.

Redbay, Red bay

Lauraceae (Laurel Family)

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Dark Green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from s. DE to FL 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 Conditions

Water 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.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Fruit is eaten by several birds species.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Persea borbonia is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Palamedes Swallowtail
(Papilio palamedes)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Description: 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

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

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FACW FACW
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.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Persea borbonia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Persea borbonia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Persea borbonia

Metadata

Record Modified: 2014-10-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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