February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Lauraceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Laurus There are just 2 species of evergreen trees and shrubs in this genus, one being found around the Mediterranean and the other native to the Canary Islands and the Azores. The foliage is glossy, dark green and aromatic, and small yellowish flowers arise along the branches in spring. CULTIVATION: Laurus nobilis is more commonly seen in cultivation. It is a very adaptable plant, suitable for hedging, topiary, specimen planting or containers, and tolerant of coastal conditions. In cool-temperate climates it is best grown against a warm wall. It requires a sunny site in a fertile well-drained soil. Formal shapes and hedging should be trimmed in summer. Propagation is from seed sown in autumn or half-hardened cuttings taken in summer.
Lindera This genus consists of about 80 deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs from the riverbanks of East Asia and North America. They have an open habit and aromatic alternate leaves that can be smooth-edged or 3-lobed. The leaves often color pleasantly in autumn on deciduous species. Its star-shaped yellow flowers are borne in spring on heads in the leaf axils and are followed by clustered berry-like fruits. The leaves of the North American species have been used to make a type of tea. CULTIVATION: Suitable for a woodland or other informal garden, these will appreciate a partly shady position when young. All species transplant well, and will survive in an ordinary, somewhat acidic soil. Established trees require little or no care but may be pruned if they become ungainly. Propagation can be from seed sown when fresh. If the seed must be stored, do not allow it to dry. Otherwise propagate from cuttings taken in summer or by layering.
Sassafras This genus includes just 3 species. They are deciduous trees and have a rather scattered distribution, occurring in temperate East Asia and eastern North America. The trees have been cultivated for their aromatic oils which repel pests and so are valuable in the furniture industry. Sassafras leaves may be smooth-edged or lobed, are downy on their undersides and sometimes develop vivid autumn colors. Racemes of tiny, petal-less, yellow-green flowers appear in spring with the developing leaves and are followed by blue-black drupes. CULTIVATION: Sassafras species are reasonably frost hardy. They prefer deep, fertile, well-drained soil and will grow in sun or partial shade. There is a tendency to produce multiple trunks and pruning can be directed to encourage this habit or to make a single-trunked tree as the situation dictates. Propagate from seed, suckers or root cuttings.

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