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Laurustinus is a large, evergreen shrub that is useful as a screen or hedge plant. It produces either berries or flowers for most of the year, making it a good plant to provide landscaping interest year-round. The plant is related to the honeysuckle.
There are several other names for Laurustinus, including Laurustine, Laurustina, and the Guelder Rose. Its scientific name is Viburnum tinus. The plants originated in the Pyrenees area of Spain and the Mediterranean basin. They have been cultivated in England and other parts of Europe for several centuries, and in the U.S. are most commonly grown along the western coast, in California and Oregon. There is also a slightly smaller variety of this shrub called Compactus or Spring Bouquet.
Laurustinus is a tall, wide-spreading shrub that can grow up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) tall and spread as wide as 10 feet (3 meters). The evergreen leaves are a glossy, dark green and oval-shaped. The have wavy edges and prominent veins.
The flowers of Laurustinus shrubs begin as bright pink buds that remain on the plant from late fall through the winter. Buds are round and grow in large clusters. These clusters can look like pink flowers, giving the plant visual interest throughout the winter.
The buds open and produce flowers in early spring, and these blooms usually remain on the plant throughout spring. The flowers are typically pinkish-white and smell of honey, though near the end of the blooming period they can develop a more unpleasant smell, which the plants use to attract flies that will pollinate it. Once the blooming period ends, brilliant, dark blue, metallic berries appear on the bushes and often remain until the end of fall.
Laurustinus grows best in full sun or partial shade. The plant can adapt well to poor soils, but prefers sandy loams or soils with some clay that are acidic or neutral. Laurustinus has normal watering needs. The shrubs are hardy down to 10°F (-12.2°C) and does not do as well in very hot climates.
Practitioners of herbal medicine sometimes use tincture of Viburnum tinus as a cure for a hodgepodge of maladies, including migraines, deafness, and depression. There is no scientific evidence to support these uses, however. On the other hand, the berries of the plant are somewhat poisonous and will cause an upset stomach if they are eaten.