Looking for ID of a fruit tree - Laurel?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by KiwiInOz, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. KiwiInOz

    KiwiInOz Junior Member

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    My mother remembers a fruit tree from her childhood that they called "laurel berries". She describes the plant as a huge, evergreen tree with thin, elongated leaves. The fruit she describes as being like a cherry, but smaller and darker. Very tasty ... small with a stone, black, round, shiny and very sweet. When in season she and her siblings ate all they could eat, daily.

    We have been trying to figure out which Laurel her tree could be. I have showed her this photo from Google images and she said "Yes, that is exactly it". https://www.lindajohns.com/ronjohns/Fruit&Berries/laurelberries.html

    According to this page it is a Portuguese Cherry Laurel, but it says the berries are poisonous.This page says they taste dreadful: https://www.paghat.com/berries19.html. However, my mother describes them as being awesomely delicious.

    This page on the English Laurel (Mum says this one's leaves are not long and thin enough) mentions a Camelliifolia as being edible. https://www.fruitipedia.com/english_laurel_prunus_laurocerasus.htm

    The tree is growing in the Gibston Valley, Central Otago, New Zealand. The climate there is hot, dry summers and cold winters, with severe frosts. My mother is 79 years old and she has recently revisited her childhood area - that tree is STILL growing there. There was only the one tree, so we presume it was planted by someone, not self sown.

    She has never seen another tree like it - or seen the fruit available anywhere.

    Does anyone know what the tree of her memory could be?
     
  2. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    It sounds most likely to be a service berry. The leaves look almost identical to the laurel but the fruits are edible and taste a lot like blue berries. It is the only edible that fits your description that I know of.
     
  3. adiantum

    adiantum Junior Member

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    Serviceberry (Amelanchier) is not to my knowledge evergreen. I would check out the Capulin, Prunus salicifolia....an evergreen true cherry from Mexico and Central America. Another possibility is some of the hardier species of Eugenia, such as E. aggregata.
     

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