The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Cherry Laurel
CHERRY LAUREL (prunus lauro-cerasus, Linn.), called in England the common or broad-leaved laurel, is a native of the Levant, and was brought from Constantinople to Holland in 1576. It has racemose flowers, pale evergreen oblong-lanceolate leaves, and is so hardy that neither frost nor drought seems to affect it. It is now one of the most popular evergreens in English pleasure grounds, and is almost as common in shrubberies as the rose. Its leaves are poisonous from the abundant hydrocyanic acid which they contain, and should be used with caution. By distillation the laurel water of commerce, the German Kirschwasser, and other poisonous cordials, are obtained from them. The fresh leaves are often employed to give a flavor to culinary preparations.