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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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


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

Morton, Pennsylvania

Sumter, South Carolina

Houston, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Annandale, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 13, 2017, PhillyLover from Philadelphia Suburbs, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Planted from a 1 gal in full sun in an exposed location 5 years ago, it is now a multi-stemmed 8' x 5' shrub. Completely evergreen for me without any protection except for the 2nd year in the ground when it was subject to the coldest winter in 30 or 40 years. It died back to the ground (or maybe snowline) and resprouted from there. By the end of this summer, I expect it to be over 10' tall.

Wet snow or ice can bend the stems to the ground but I haven't had any major breakage. The stems are relatively flexible.

Has fragrant foliage when crushed and it has no insect or disease issues in my garden. The deer have never shown any interest in it. I only provide supplemental water during extended summer drought.

Flowers are insignificant but it does... read more


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.


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.


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.


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 ... read more