Prunus Otto Luyken
Prunus laurocerasus commonly called cherry laurel or English laurel is a broad, dense, spreading, evergreen shrub that in cultivation typically matures over time to 10-18’ tall with a spread to 20-25’. It is native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia where plants in the wild may become quite tree-like, eventually reaching 30’ in height. Lustrous, oblong, dark green leaves (to 6” long). Foliage is evergreen with no fall color. Tiny, cup-shaped, creamy white flowers in upright clusters (racemes to 5” long) bloom from the leaf axils in April-May. Flowers have a powerful aroma. Flowers give way to somewhat inconspicuous black drupes that ripen in mid-summer. This fruit is basically inedible for humans (bitter aftertaste) but is loved by local bird populations. Specific epithet means laurel cherry in reference to its laurel-like evergreen leaves and cherry-like fruit. 'Otto Luyken' is a compact cultivar that grows only 3-4 feet tall and spreads to 6-8 feet. Over time it can grow 6-10 feet tall. It is free-flowering. It was introduced by Hesse Nurseries in Germany around 1968.