Laurel-Leaved Snail Tree

Cocculus laurifolius

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Native tree from India, Himalayas, Malaysia, China and Japan. Cocculus comes from Greek, and means small fruit. Laurifolius means of laurel leaves or similar to those of this one.

Evergreen tree, dioecious, up to 8-10 m in height, although sometimes it looks shrubby, sometimes with many open and hanging branches. The trunk has a ridged, dark-coloured bark. Its leaves are simple, alternate, arranged in two regular lines on the twigs. They have an oblong-obovate or obovate shape, sometimes elliptical; the margin is entire and they have three protruding parallel veins. They are lustrous green in colour and somewhat subcoriaceous in texture. Small, greenish flowers, arranged in axillary or terminal inflorescences in the months of May-June. Fruit in a flattened, balloon-shaped drupe, black in colour and measuring about 6 mm in diameter.

It is a species that thrives well in shady and humid places and in fresh soils. It has slow growth, so it is not the ideal tree to have if you are an impatient person. Difficult to acquire in garden centres.

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