This species of laurel is indigenous to the Southern States, and is found in abundance in the maritime districts of Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. It is an associate of the water oak and red maple, and attains its most vigorous growth the more southern is its field of propagation. It requires a cool and humid soil as an essential to its thrift, and is often found in swamps. Its wood is rose-colored, strong, and durable, with a fine, compact grain. Being susceptible of a brilliant polish, its wood is highly valued for the manufacture of furniture requiring a high degree of beauty, and might be substituted for mahogany. Its leaves, which are about six inches long, oval-acuminate, and glaucous on the under surface, diffuse a strong odor, and may be used in cookery.
This tree is of elevated growth, sometimes attaining to a height of from sixty to ninety feet. It flowers in May. The female flowers occur in loose bunches, while those of the male occur in long clusters from the axils of the leaves. The varieties of this tree differ distinctly in their characteristics according to the latitude in which they grow. They may be propagated from seed, cuttings, or layers.