Description. -- This is a small evergreen shrub or tree with smooth branches. Leaves with short petioles, oval-oblong, serrate, acute, and smooth. Flowers shorter than the leaves, calyx inferior, corolla has five white petals; stamens about twenty; and fruit a round, black, smooth drupe.
    History. -- Originally a native of Asia Minor, from whence it was introduced into Europe in 1576, and subsequently from Europe to the United States. It is now common in gardens and shrubberies. The leaves have scarcely any odor until bruised, then they have a bitter almond odor; taste very bitter, aromatic, and slightly astringent. They impart their virtues to water and alcohol.
    Properties and Uses. -- An excellent sedative. Useful in tic-doulureux, phthisis, spasmodic cough, palpitation of the heart, and in all spasmodic affections.
    Dose. -- Powdered leaves, four to eight grains; laurel water, ten to thirty drops.