Prunus lauroceerasus

Botanical Name : Prunus lauroceerasus
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus, or Laurocerasus
Section: Laurocerasus
Species: P. laurocerasus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Cherry Laurel,English laurel

Habitat :Prunus lauroceerasus is native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania and Bulgaria east through Turkey to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Iran

Description:
Prunus laurocerasus is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing to 5–15 metres (16–49 ft) tall, rarely to 18 metres (59 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 60-cm broad. The leaves are dark green, leathery, shiny, (5–)10–25(–30)-cm wide and 4–10-cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The leaves can have the smell of almonds when crushed.
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The flower buds appear in early spring and open in early summer in erect 7–15-cm racemes of 30–40 flowers, each flower 1-cm broad, with five creamy-white petals and numerous yellowish stamens.

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The fruit is a small cherry 1–2-cm broad, turning black when ripe in early autumn.   Unlike the rest of the plant, which is poisonous, the cherries are edible, although rather bland and with a somewhat dry smack compared to the fruit of apricots, true cherries, plums, and peaches, to which it is related. The seeds contained within the berries are poisonous like the rest of the plant, containing cyanogenic glycosides and amygdalin.[6] This chemical composition is what gives the smell of almonds when the leaves are crushed.

Cultivation:
Prunus laurocerasus is a widely cultivated ornamental plant, used for planting in gardens and parks in temperate regions worldwide. It is often used for hedges, a screening plant, and as a massed landscape plant. Most cultivars are tough shrubs that can cope with difficult growing conditions, including shaded and dry conditions, and which respond well to pruning.

Medicinal Uses:
The fresh leaves are of value in the treatment of coughs, whooping cough, asthma, dyspepsia and indigestion. Externally, a cold infusion of the leaves is used as a wash for eye infections.  A reliable sedative and frequently the principal agent in cough medicine.  Cherry-laurel water (Aqua Laurocerasi) is produced by distillation. In homeopathy, a tincture produced from the leaves is used as a sedative.  It may also be used externally in soothing poultices.

Other uses
Laurel water, a distillation made from the plant, has a pharmacological usage. The foliage is also used for cut greenery in floristry.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_laurocerasus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://movies-honoratocainelvis.blogspot.com/2011/03/prunus-laurocerasus-etna.html
http://trees.stanford.edu/ENCYC/PRUNUSlau.htm

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