Archive for July 16th, 2011

Cherry Laurel – Prunus laurocerasus

Cherry Laurel
Cherry Laurel

The cherry laurel tree drops some magic on the plants below.
They accept with open arms.
The sidewalk that winds its way

beside the tree and

under the blue lights ~

earlier laden with pear tree blossoms

and red camellias ~

is now covered

with these tiny flowers.

By D. Smith Kaich Jones 

This Toxic plant is poisonous due to the presence of hydrogen cyanide, the same thing that gives almonds their distinctive smell. The leaves and seed kernels have the hydrogen cyanide present higher than other parts. Symptoms of toxicity are respiratory failure and death!

This is an evergreen shrub has been imported from Europe. Anyone planting this one should give it a thought before doing so, as it becomes invasive readily, with the seed being spread by birds in their droppings. This bush will cause native plants and tree seedlings to be eliminated from their normal habitat. It will shade out seedlings in woodland settings, and outcompetes others.

At the Blarney Castle in Ireland there is a Poison Garden first planted in the 18th century. In it are all the deadliest plants and one can walk amongst them there. Cherry Laurel or English Laurel is one of the bushes featured.

Regardless of its toxic properties the leaves are antispasmodic, narcotic, and sedative. They have been utilized in the treatment of coughs, asthma, indigestion, and externally in a wash for the eye. An essential oil is also extracted from the leaf.

The leaves when distilled in water has been used as an almond flavoring in cooking. The fruit is edible, as long as caution is used to not bite the seed kernel, so that the hydrogen cyanide is not released. The fruit can be used to make jellies or jams.

In magic gather the dying, yellowing leaves, write on it with a stick or other pointed tool. When the leaf is subsequently heated or warmed by body heat the writing will appear! The leaves were also used to ward off evil spirits.