A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Portuguese Laurel

July 16, 2016

Prunus lusitanica is rare in the wild, found mainly along mountain streams, preferring sunshine and moist but well-drained soils of South West Europe and Morocco. It is moderately drought-tolerant. The species was first scientifically described by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. Its specific epithet lusitanica means of Lusitania, the Roman name for Portugal. Curiously the leaves contain cyanide which when burnt will release the toxin. On Symi it is grown as a decorative plant and attracts the bees and hornets which in turn attracts bee-eaters if they are about.

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