Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf evergreen shrub/tree, 10-20 ft (3-6 m), wide spreading, dense, coarse-texture, vigorous. Leaves alternate, simple, 5-15 cm long, about 1/2 as wide, oblong or obovate-oblong, obscurely serrate to nearly entire, lustrous medium to dark green, two glands on base of blade near point of attachment with petiole. Buds light green. Flowers white, fragrant, 6mm wide, in 5-10 cm long, but narrow, clusters (racemes); blooms in spring. Fruit purple to black, 1.3 cm, in summer.
- Sun or shade. Best in moist, well-drained, acidic soil, supplemented with organic matter. Tolerant of salt spray and shade (grows in conditions with little direct light). Often pruned to a hedge, for which some say it is "least suited" (Grant and Grant, 1990).
Hardy to USDA Zone 6 Native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor.
A number of cultivars, including:
- 'Compacta' - supposedly a form that is more compact than the species type, listed as growing 4-8 ft (1.2-2.4 m) high with an equal spread.
- 'Marbled Dragon' - slow growing, leaves marbled gray or white, variable and unstable.
- 'Mt. Vernon' - slow growing, compact dwarf to 3 ft (90 cm), wide spreading, dense, leaves similar to species.
- 'Nana' - slow growing to 4-6 ft (1.2-1.6 m) tall and wide, speading, glossy dark green leaves similar to species. Hardy to USDA Zone 7.
- 'Otto Luyken' - poplular form, compact, speading to 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m) wide and 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, erect stems, narrow, glossy dark green leaves, abundant flowers. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
- 'Schipkaensis' - several forms under this name (see Dirr, 1998). Moderate growing, to 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall and 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) wide. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
- 'Zabeliana' - fast growing, shoots almost horizontal, long narrow leaves, profusely flowering. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
- laurocerasus: refers to common name, cerasus: cherry; lauro: laurel
- Ingesting wilted leaves, broken twigs, and broken fruits pits may cause cyanide poisoning.
- Oregon State Unv. campus: northeast of the Women's Building.