Herb: Spotted Laurel
Latin name: Aucuba japonica
Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)
Medicinal use of Spotted Laurel:The leaves are pounded and applied to burns, swellings, chilblains etc.
Description of the plant:
(9 3/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Woods in lowland and mountains all over Japan. In rich forest soils of moist valleys, dense forests, thickets, by streams and near shaded moist rocks in China.
Edible parts of Spotted Laurel:Leaves - cooked. An emergency food. It would have to be quite an emergency to convince me to eat them.
Other uses of the herb:Makes a good hedge but its large leaves mean that it is quite labour intensive to maintain if a neatly clipped appearance is desired. Unless you are happy with the large leaves being cut in half, it means that you have to trim the hedge with secateurs. The plant will eventually make large weed-excluding shrubs and are suitable for covering large areas of ground, there are some dwarf forms that can be grown for ground cover. "Nana Rotundifolia" has been mentioned and will form a hummock of growth about 1 metre across.
Propagation of Spotted Laurel:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Wash off the pulpy coating since this can inhibit germination. Stored seed should be soaked overnight and then stratified for 1 - 2 weeks at 3°C. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months or more at 20°C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once they are 20cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15 - 20cm long outdoors at any time between September to February though October and November are best. Very easy, even small branches will root. Layering in autumn. Takes 12 months.
Cultivation of the herb:Woods in lowland and mountains all over Japan. In rich forest soils of moist valleys, dense forests, thickets, by streams and near shaded moist rocks in China.
Known hazards of Aucuba japonica:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.