After pruning my laurel hedge, I now have lots of prunings ~ 2 cu
metres ( in 1 ton bags)
After searching the internet, I found conflicting advice about what can
safely be done with them as apparently they contain prussic acid which
is poisonous. Does anyone know the best way to use them in the garden
If your "laurel" is Laurus nobilis (bay laurel or Grecian laurel), enjoy
it. It's bay leaves are used to season gravies, soups, and meat dishes.
If your "laurel" is Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurel cherry), P.
laurocerasus (English laurel), or P. lusitanica (Portugal laurel), the
leaves can indeed be quite toxic. But this is true of the leaves of all
Prunus species, including peaches, plums, almonds, cherries, etc. A
single fresh leaf of a peach tree can kill a small child. To some
extent, the kernels inside the pits of Prunus species are also toxic.
Almonds should be eaten in moderation; a single almond-like kernel from
a peach pit can kill a person. However, the leaves can still be
composted or used as a mulch. The prussic acid (cyanide) breaks down
during composting and does not contaminate edible plants.
If your "laurel" is Umbellularia californica (California laurel), the
leaves can substitute for the bay leaves from L. nobilis. However, use
them sparingly since the flavor of U. californica is much stronger than
the flavor of L. nobilis. Also, some people might be allergic to U.
Here we have three different genuses of "laurel". One is the commercial
source of an herb. One is quite toxic. And one might be an herb
substitute. That's why the botanical names of plants are important, to
distinguish which plant is really meant when the same common name is
applied to different species.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I am fairly sure they are cherry
laurel, but it's so long since I planted them that I cant remember.
However, from what you have said, they are safe to use in the garden
but I shouldn't eat them or feed them to the neighbours' children.
David E. Ross;799455 Wrote:
> On 6/20/2008 7:19 AM, flimbin wrote:-
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.