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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana)

Carolina Laurel Cherry is an evergreen tree that may easily grow over 25 feet tall. The leaves are alternate with a smooth or occasionally toothed margin and a pale white underside. The bark is smooth and gray to reddish brown with numerous lenticels. Some splits and fissures develop with age. In early spring, small, creamy white, 5-petaled flowers mature in 2- to 3-inch elongated clusters. The small tree produces a black drupe that matures in the fall.


Provides winter and extreme weather cover . Host plant for Coral Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Spring/Summer Azures, and Viceroy butterflies. Adult butterflies nectar from the spring flowers. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, raccoons, foxes, and small mammals. White-tailed deer browse foliage.

Plant Type Tree 10-30 feet
Leaf Type Evergreen
Deer Resistance High
Regions Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade
Soil Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Early Spring
Seed Times Fall
Wildlife Value Winter Cover, Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly/Insect Nectar, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension