Cherry Laurel

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Invasive Plants, Pacific Northwest

Cherry Laurel
Cherry Laurel, Photo By Bud Logan

The Cherry Laurel plant is native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. It has been introduced to North America and is used quite extensively as a garden/yard hedge. All parts of this plant is poisonous so care should be used in your choice of hedge material if you have children or pets that might induce this plant and its pretty looking berries.

Cherry Laurel
Cherry Laurel, Photo By Bud Logan

the Cherry Laurel can grow in a wide range of conditions. It prefers to grow under partial shade in well drained but moist soils, it can stand salt spray well and seems to thrive in acidic soil types. But it will grow in full sun or dryer soils almost as well. One cut stem can be the beginning of a tight growing plant that will take over the forest understory and crowd out other native plants.

It reproduces via seeds which are largely distributed by birds who eat the fruit. I have seen these plants growing a long way from the nearest road. But it can also grow new plants from trimmings and cut stems, so please avoid dumping this or any other invasive plant and instead, take it to a proper disposal site. Closer to most communities where this plant is used as an ornamental you will see many areas where it is getting a foot hold. As a Cherry Laurel plant gets established and begins to produce fruit, birds will distribute it further out and this makes this plant a problem invasive plant. Being such an easily spread plant, that is highly tolerant and very fast growing has led to this plant growing on most coastal areas of southern BC, it grows everywhere on Vancouver Island. Please think twice about growing this plant or for that matter, any invasive plant.