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Taxonomy & Identification: Redbay ( Persea borbonia)

Reference Type
University Outreach Publication

At the edge of streams, springs, and swamps hides the redbay tree. Redbay (Persea borbonia), with its evergreen aromatic leathery leaves, dark blue fruit hanging on into winter, and reddish bark is a jewel among trees.

The Native Americans found a host of medicinal uses for this medium sized tree. Early European Americans found the fine grained, highly polished wood to be perfect trim for bay boats and sailing ships. Southern gumbos require redbay leaf flavoring to be authentic. Now exotic pests threaten this unique American tree. This publication is to assist people understand the great variability and confusion regarding redbay taxonomy, its lineage, where it grows, and its identifying characteristics.


  • Part 1 -- Redbay Taxonomy
  • Part 2 -- Redbay Range & Requirements
  • Part 3 -- Identifying Redbay
  • Part 4 -- Use of Redbay
  • Conclusions
  • Selected Redbay References

[SFNR07-2 January 2007]

K.D. Coder
Date Published
January 2007
Warnell School of Forest and Natural Resources, University of Georgia
Publisher Location
Athens, GA (US)
Publication Number
Biology (tree), Diagnosis and Treatment, Forest Health, Health (tree), Identification, Plant Health Care, Protection (tree)
Georgia, Florida, South Carolina
Redbay, Redbay dendrology, Silkbay, Persia borbonia, Leaf characteristics, Persia, Redbay wilt
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