This shrub grows in such thick and unwieldy masses that it is almost impenetrable, as its thick, unyielding branches interlock with each other; it reaches sometimes to the height of eight or ten feet, and some claim that in the Southern States it reaches even higher, but this I cannot vouch for, as I have never seen it. Torrey claims that it attains the height of twenty feet in the Catskill Mountains, and Bryant speaks of laurel that was fifteen feet high and had a diameter of three inches.

The laurel very closely resembles the box, more so than any other of the American trees, and in fact it is well fitted to supply its place. It is often called spoon-wood by the backwoods settlers, as they manufacture a great many of their rude kitchen utensils from it; it is hard, close grained, and takes a fine polish. It will survive in most any soil except limestone clays, and thrives best with a slight northern exposure, its leaves being more brilliant and thicker than Avhen exposed to the southern sun. It will not bear transplanting, especially if of any size. The seed is small and requires the greatest skill to raise plants from it. The tree has flowers of a red color.