Swamp Bay (Persea palustris)
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|shrubs|evergreen|height 10-12'|spread 6-8'|sun/part shade|attracts butterflies|wildlife food|

Swamp Bay (Persea palustris)

In late March of 2009, Elaine and I collected this species in an extremely acid site aroun St. Francisville, Louisiana. Our companions doubed its ability to survive in our alkaline, xeric and insolated environment but I had a feeling...I collected the 1/3" round blue/black berries, took them and germinated them in June 2009. They grew quickly and seemed very happy. Steve and I transplanted them from quart pots to three gallon containers in late December. They are now 15 to 18" tall, with dark green leaves and strong, fast growing branches as well as numerous basal shoots. The Spicewood Swallowtails puddle in the driveway every sunny morning and then proceed to deposit eggs on them! Despite my pH 8.2+, super hard and sulferous Trinity Aquifer water, they are quite happy! We now have a new evergreen, freeze-hardy, bird and butterfly serviceable shrub for our area. These will be ready for sale mid-June 2010.

While the flowers are small and greenish, the fruit is like avacados to the birds and Spicewood Swallowtail butterfly uses the leaves as its larval host food. Humans can use the leaves as they would the far more common Red Bay (Persea Borbonia) - otherwise known as file. Avacados are in this genus of primarily tropical members of the laurel family. This species is untouched by any cold ever to be historically recorded in central Texas.

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