Persea borbonia

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Persea borbonia
Persea borbonia leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Persea
Species: P. borbonia
Binomial name
Persea borbonia
(L.) Spreng.
Natural range
Synonyms[1]
  • Laurus borbonia L.
  • Persea littoralis Small
  • Tamala borbonia (L.) Raf.
  • Tamala littoralis (Small) Small

Persea borbonia is a species of plant in the Lauraceae family, with several common names including redbay,[2]tisswood,[2] scrubbay, shorebay, and swampbay.

It is one of about 150 species in the evergreen tree genus Persea. It is an evergreen tree that is native to the Southeastern United States in North America.

Description[edit]

Persea borbonia can be present as either a small tree or a large shrub. It has evergreen leaves that are about 3 to 6 inches long[3] with a lance shape. The leaves are arranged alternately and emit a spicy smell when crushed.[4] The leaves vary in color from bright green to dark green. These trees are capable of producing fruit that is a small, blue or black drupe.[5] Redbay is a perennial, with a non-herbaceous stem that is lignified.[6]

Distribution[edit]

Persea borbonia is in the Southern part of the United States. It grows in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. It also grows in the Bahamas and is cultivated in Hawaii.[7] It usually grows on the borders of swamp land.

Unfortunately, due to an invasion of redbay ambrosia beetle in the Southern United States the tree is slowly dying out. The beetle was discovered in 2002 near Savannah, Georgia and it carries a laurel wilt fungal disease that is responsible for killing Redbays. However, foresters agree the species will likely not go extinct in the southeastern U.S. since it appears to rejuvenate to some degree on its own. Additionally, there appears to be an invitro programs that have been successful in one study area in Georgia.[8]

Persea borbonia leaf with leaf mines by larvae of the moth Phyllocnistis hyperpersea.

Uses[edit]

The plant is not widely used in the present day for medicinal uses, however the Seminole Indians used to use it as an emetic, to induce vomiting.[9] The dried up leaves can be used as a condiment.

The wood is hard and strong, which can be used to build boats, cabinets and for lining the interior of structures. The wood is not traded on a very large scale so it is confined to the regions where P. borbonia grows.

Cultivation

Persea borbonia is cultivated as an ornamental tree for gardens and parks.

Wildlife

Deer and bears also eat the leaves and fruits of redbay. Birds and turkey only eat the fruit of the redbay.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ a b "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  3. ^ Kim D Coder. "Taxonomy and identification: Redbay (Persea borbonia)". 
  4. ^ "Persea borbonia Fact Sheet". Dendro.cnre.vt.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  5. ^ "Persea borbonia". Floridata. 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  6. ^ "Red Bay (Persea borbonia) Species Details and Allergy Info". Pollenlibrary.com. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Persea borbonia". Fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  8. ^ "An Undefended Buffet: The Unnecessary Extinction of the Redbay, a Defining Southern Tree, by Susan Cerulean : Articles". Terrain.org. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  9. ^ "medicinal herbs: RED BAY - Persea borbonia". Naturalmedicinalherbs.net. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  10. ^ "Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.". Na.fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 

External links[edit]