There are two Laurels commonly found in woodlands and hedges as shrubs or small trees – the Cherry Laurel Prunus laurocerasus and the Portugal Laurel Prunus Lusitanica.
As it has multiple stems rather than a trunk it is deemed a shrub, not a tree, but larger specimens may look like trees.
CHERRY LAUREL : Prunus laurocerasus
The cherry laurel is an introduced species as an ornamental shrub. It is native to the Caucusus and eatern Europe, but was probably introduced to Britain in the 16th century.
It is an evergreen shrub which can grow to 15 metres (50ft) tall. The leaves are dark green, leathery, shiny, long and broad and have the scent of almonds when crushed.
Flower buds appear in late winter and open in early spring to spikes of white flowers. The fruit is a small, inedible cherry that turns black when ripe in early autumn.
Wiki tells us that the eaves and seed may cause severe discomfort to humans if ingested. The seeds contained within the cherries are poisonous like the rest of the plant, containing cyanogenic glycosides and amygdalin, This chemical composition is what gives the smell of almonds when the leaves are crushed.
A great specimen in India Street, Alexandria.
Very disntinctive flowers.
CHEW VALLEY TREES website : https://www.treeguideuk.co.uk/laurels/
TREES GUIDE UK : https://www.treeguideuk.co.uk/laurels/