Redbay, Persea borbonia

Persea borbonia is an evergreen tree in the Lauraceae family. The species may commonly be referred to as Redbay, Tisswood, Scrubbay, Shorebay and Swampbay.

P. borbonia grows as either a small tree or a large shrub. It contains evergreen leaves that reach between 3 and 6 inches long. They are lance-shaped. They are alternately arranged and give off a spicy smell when crushed. The leaves may be a light green to a very dark green. They produce fruit called drupes, which are small and blue or black.

P. borbonia is not widely used for medicinal purposes, although the Seminole Indians once used it to induce vomiting. The dried leaves can be used as a condiment. It has hard and strong wood that is used to build structures such as boats and cabinets.

P. borbonia is indigenous to the southeastern United States. It grows in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. It most commonly grows on the borders of swampland.

Image Caption: Leaves and fruit of a Redbay (Persea borbonia). Credit: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Wikipedia (public domain)