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Laurel - poisonous??

Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
I've always thought that laurel was poisonous.  Indeed (following a link given by paul for something else) Marc Bonfils states "Walnut, laurel, pink laurel, goldenchain laburnum, cytlsus scoparius (scotch broom), yew & box leaves are very -poisonous for animals ( and humans)."

However, my goats just can't seem to get enough of laurel.  They have free-range over 12 acres and they chose to spend all their time eating the laurel trees leaves and bark - have even climbed into it - and have eaten all the cytisus and its bark such that I don't think it will grow this year.  They've been doing this for 2 months now and they seem quite well.  Is it one of those myths like false acacia?  or will they die?
Alice Kaspar

Joined: Jan 19, 2011
Posts: 70
Depending on your location, different things are called Laurel.  I am familiar with "mountain laurel" that smells like grape bubble gum when it blooms, but a neighbor has a weird looking thing that makes a tiny plum like fruit, and he calls it laurel.

What your goats are eating..... que pasa?

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Bay Laurel (aka 'noble larel' aka bay leaf) is a rather nice addition to soups and stews. But like Alice said, many different plants are called laurel, and some are poisonous.

Joined: Jan 01, 2011
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
Since you are in France you naturally have the European laurel which is much, Much milder that the California bay laurel which is so strong that if you crush a leaf and inhale it nearly knocks you on your butt.  Paul's link was probably referring to the US variety.
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 7366
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
The leaves of English Cherry Laurel Prunus laurocerasus are used by bug collectors in their killing jars, so I guess they must be pretty toxic.  I think they give off some sort of cyanide, but I'm not sure if that's what does the killing or if it's a combination of different chemicals. 

How works

What is a Mother Tree ?
subject: Laurel - poisonous??