Herbs & Plants

Persia borbonia

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Botanical Name : Persia borbonia
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Persea
Species: P. borbonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Laurales

Common Names :Redbay, Scrubbay, Sweetbay, Shorebay and Swampbay

Habitat : Persia borbonia  is native to North America, north of Mexico. It grows in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. It  grows in  sandy to rich moist soils of low woodlands, coastal forests, along the sides of bogs, streams and swamps. Sometimes found in dry sandy areas in Florida.   It also grows in the Bahamas and is cultivated in Hawaii. It usually grows on the borders of swamp land.

Unfortunately, due to an invasion of redbay ambrosia beetles in the Southern United States the tree is slowly dying out. The beetle was discovered in 2002 near Savannah, Georgia and it carries a fungal disease that is responsible for killing Redbay. This is bad because Redbay is a relative of the Avocado tree so if this disease is capable of killing off  Persia borbonia it could probably affect Persia americana.

Persia borbonia 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.


It has evergreen leaves that are about 3 to 7 inches long with a lance shape. The leaves are arranged alternately and emit a spicy smell when crushed. The leaves vary in color from bright green to dark green.  Redbay is a perennial, with a non-herbaceous stem that is lignified.

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.

Edible   uses:    The fresh or dried leaves can be used as a flavouring in soups etc

Medicinal Uses:
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. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.  An infusion  of the leaves can be used to abort a fetus up to the age of four months. An infusion is also used in treating fevers, headaches, diarrhea, thirst, constipation, appetite loss and blocked urination. A strong decoction is emetic and was used as a body purification when treating a wide range of complaints. A decoction of the leaves is used externally as a wash on rheumatic joints and painful limbs.

The leaves have been used as an abortifacient, analgesic, emetic and febrifuge. They have been used to treat fevers, headaches, diarrhea, thirst, constipation, appetite loss and blocked urination.

Other Uses:
*The wood is hard and strong, which can be used to build boats, cabinets and lining interiors of structures.It takes a beautiful polish
*It can also be used as an ornamental tree due to its evergreen leaves.
*The dried up leaves can used as a condiment but not much else.
*Deer and some reports of bears also eat the leaves and fruits of redbay. Birds and turkey only eat the fruit of the redbay

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.


Red Bay for all seasonings

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