Source: Magness et al. 1971
The plant is an evergreen bush, up to 10 feet, with thick, glossy, oval to lanceolate leaves, widely grown as an ornamental; and with many horticultural varieties. The leaves have a taste and flavor resembling bitter almond, due to a glucoside, laurocerasin. The leaves are used in cookery, particularly to flavor puddings and custards. A distillate from the leaves is used medicinally.