E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Prunus laurocerasus L.
cherry-laurel (cherry laurel)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jeremy Smith  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24583)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Prunus laurocerasus
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Cherry laurel is a medium to tall evergreen ornamental shrub species in the Rose Family that is widely used in our region as a hedge species. It has escaped and naturalized in North America in British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California (USDA 2011). In British Columbia, it is reported in the southwestern corner of the province. It is considered invasive here, and readily seeds outside of the garden. This is a spring flowering species that produces a raceme of white flowers.

Species Information

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Medium to tall shrub, occasionally a small tree, 2-6 m tall; twigs green, smooth.
Alternate, evergreen, thick and waxy, oblong, 7-20 cm long, remotely fine-toothed, usually abruptly short-pointed at the tip, short-stalked.
Inflorescence an ascending cylindric cluster of several to many stalked flowers; corollas white, saucer-shaped, about 1 cm across, the petals 5, egg-shaped, 3-4 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes very short, 3-toothed; ovaries superior.
Fleshy drupes with a large stone (cherries), conic, about 10-15 mm long, purplish-black; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist open forests, forest edges, clearings and disturbed sites in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Prunus laurocerasus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
Slope Gradient (%)
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cerasus laurocerasus (L.) Loisel.
Laurocerasus officinalis M. Roem.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References