Indian Laurel - Litsea glutinosa
Indian laurel Litsea
glutinosa is an aromatic medicinal tree
that belongs to the Avocado family Lauraceae
Litsea glutinosa is an evergreen
tree which grows 6-10m high with velvety-hairy young shoots. The leathery leaves are smooth above and hairy
beneath. The flowers are yellow-orange in colour. Vast quantities of black,
shiny, pea-sized berries which are loved by birds are produced.
Litsea glutinosa has a distribution in mixed primary and secondary
forest and thickets
from India through Indo-China towards the Malesian area where it occurs in all parts, and
northern Australia. Litsea glutinosa is a
plant with many uses in particular medicinal in its area of origin as well as in some of its areas of
In many countries where Litsea
glutinosa has been introduced in particular the Indian Ocean
Islands of Seychelles, Comores
and Mascarenes it has become highly
invasive. In South Africa it occurs mainly in localised pockets which
are particularly widespread along the KZN coast, however is spreading fast.
Two reasons for it's success at
being an invasive specie are that it seeds prolifically and also produces suckers abundantly allowing it to spread rapidly
and build up dense thickets that displace native vegetation where very little else can
compete against the carpets of seedlings that germinate in
the vicinity of large fruiting trees. One tree can infest a neighbourhood in a very short
It is best to remove Litsea before they set seed and become
a food source for birds such as starlings, bulbuls and barbets which spread the seed far and wide.
Seeds germinate readily and even very small seedlings are difficult to pull out as the tap root
is long and strong and is inclined to break off below ground level and re-grow. The impact on the environment
in most areas of introduction is severe.
In South Africa Litsea glutinosa
is classified as a Cat 1 invasive plant under The Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, No. 43 of 1983, as amended in March
Category 1 declared plants (Section 15A of the
- may not occur on any land or inland water
surface other than in biological control reserves.
- must be controlled by the land user on whose land or inland water such plants are
- may not be planted or
- may not be imported or sold;
- may not be allowed to disperse.
Litsea glutinosa is
very difficult to control. Trees may be removed by cutting down but if this operation is not
followed by a stump treatment with a suitable herbicide they will simply re-grow both from the cut stem as
well as from the roots.
For small trees with diameter less than 15cm, use
triclopyr (Garlon®) mixed at the rate of 20ml to1L of diesel, for larger trees use triclopyr (Garlon®) mixed
at the rate of 50ml to1L of diesel applied as a basal stem treatment after administering a ring of axe cuts
as low down on the trunk as possible.
Apply triclopyr (Garlon®) mixed at the rate
of 50ml to
1 L of diesel or Imazapyr (Chopper®) mixed at the rate of 50ml to1 L of water over the entire stump in
particular the cambium layer.
Repeat treatments may be