Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Florida Mahogany, Redbay
Persea borbonia

Family: Lauraceae (law-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Persea (PER-see-uh) (Info)
Species: borbonia (bor-BOH-nee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Persea littoralis
Synonym:Tamala borbonia
Synonym:Tamala littoralis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sladeofsky On Feb 15, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

It's natural range is well into 7b and into southern 7, so at least that cold hardy. I'm not sure if it has been tried further north. If I decide to, I will update.

Positive dave_in_nova On Apr 28, 2011, dave_in_nova from Annandale, VA wrote:

This small tree seems to be completely hardy and evergreen in my region. I have a 15-footer in my backyard in Northern Virginia. The only potential problem I see is limb breakage with heavy snow or ice loads.

Positive Tetrazygia On May 21, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

One of the three native Perseas to the United States (not including territories--for example, Puerto Rico has an additional two). All are native in the SE, but P. humilis is endemic to Florida.

Persea borbonia is closely related to P. americana, the common avocado, which has been naturalized in parts of Florida but is not native.

Perseas not related to the true mahoganies. I've never heard of Redbay being called Florida Mahogany, but West Indian Mahogany, Swietenia mahagoni, is native to extreme South Florida and so that common name would be especially confusing.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Mar 13, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Red Bay (Persea borbonia) is a member of the Laurel family (Lauraceae). However, it is not the true Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis) used in ancient Roman houses which is native to the Mediterranean region. However, Red Bay sports the characteristic, spicy scent of Bay. The plant's characteristic scent is emitted when the leaves are crushed.

Red Bay is also known as Florida Bay. Red Bay is native to the coastal plain of the southeastern United States from eastern North Carolina south through Florida, west along the Gulf coast into Texas and parts of the lower Mississippi Valley.

Red Bay is very useful for wildlife. It provides shelter for wildlife and attracts insects.

Red Bay is usually a tree that is usually 20 to 30 or 35 feet high, although it may sometimes grow to around 40 or 45 feet high. The leaves are pointed and rounded.

Red Bay is usually associated with lowlands, hardwood swampy forests and moist or swampy conditions, but occurs in a variety of habitats, ranging from edges of fields and ditches to dry sandy areas, ridges and even dunes near the coast.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Saraland, Alabama
Lady Lake, Florida
Miami, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Slaughter, Louisiana
Centreville, Maryland
Brooklyn, New York
Sumter, South Carolina
Houston, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Annandale, Virginia

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