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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jeremy Smith     (Photo ID #24583)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Prunus laurocerasus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


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

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in


Habitat and Range

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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Cerasus laurocerasus (L.) Loisel.
Laurocerasus officinalis M. Roem.