Persea palustris

19 Mar

Persea palustris (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Persea palustris (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15m

Eventual Spread: 8m

Hardiness: 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Lauraceae

Persea palustris is an evergreen large shrub or small tree with a rounded to cylindrical habit. Its dark green leaves are ovate to elliptic with entire margins, up to 15cm long and 5cm broad. The underside of the leaves are covered in rust coloured hairs. It leaves are fragrant when crushed, smelling similar to Laurus nobilis. New emerging leaves are red/ brown in colour. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 45cm. Its green/ white flowers are borne in clusters, emerging from the leaf axils and are up to 6mm across. Its black fruit is a drupe and up to 8mm across.

Persea palustris Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Persea palustris Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Persea palustris, commonly known as the Swambay or Swamp Red Bay, is native to eastern North America. In its native habit it grows in wetlands, swamps and marshes.

The etymological root of the binomial name Persea is derived from the Greek name for an oriental tree. Palustris is from the Latin meaning ‘of marshes’.

Persea palustris Bark (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Persea palustris Bark (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Persea palustris useful as an evergreen shrub for wet locations.

Ecologically, Persea palustris is attractive to pollinating insects. Its fruit is attractive some birds and mammals.

Persea palustris prefers moist, poorly drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Persea palustris requires little maintenance.

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