Persea borbonia var. borbonia

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Red Bay


Also known as Persea borbonia

Plant Specifics

Size:20-70 ft tall by 10-20 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:NA
Phenology:Evergreen. Inconspicuous flowers in spring. Fruit ripens in fall.
Noted for:Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:This and other bays are being attacked by a fatal disease (laurel wilt disease). Avoid spreading this plant, it is best not to plant this or other bays.
Considerations:Subject to laural wilt, which is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle. Do not move dead wood. Allow sprouts from stumps to grow to supply larval food for the spicebush swallow tail and other butterflies.
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Humus (organic, upland), Loam, Sand
Soil pH:



Fruits eaten and dispersed by birds.


Larval host plant for palamedes swallowtail (Papilio palamedes) and spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) butterflies.

Attracts bees including Colletes banksi, C. brimleyi, C. nudus, Augochloropsis metallica, Evylaeuspectoralis, Epeolus zonatus, Apis mellifera (honeybee) and  Bombus impatiens (Deyrup et al. 2002).

Native Habitats:Upland hardwood forests, dry mesic hammocks, calcareous hammocks. Sometime associated with wetlands.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Leaves can be used in cooking.
General Comments:

This species and other members of the Lauraceae are being attacked by a serious, fatal disease. Do not plant this plant unless you are absolutely sure that it is not infected!