categoryZShrubs Shrubs List 
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 
categoryZBrooadleaf Broadleaf List 

SPOTTED LAUREL

GOLD DUST PLANT [America]

Aucuba japonica

Spotted-Laurel Family [Garryaceae]  

Flowers:
month8apr month8april month8may

Berries: berryZpossible        berryZgreen berryZred  (mildly poisonous, can last to January)
berry8may berry8jun berry8june berry8jul berry8july berry8aug berry8sep berry8sept berry8oct

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Evergreen
category
category8Broadleaf
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8beetroot
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
sex
sexZdioecious

25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 In a garden setting, with bits of Forsythia poking through. Leaves lightish green spotted in gold spots.


28th April 2010, Wistanstow, Shropshire. Photo: © RWD
New growth is light green and bolt-upright, and mostly hides the small inconspicuous flowers from view.


25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Large red berries do not appear on every bush. Newleaf growth accompanied by sprigs of unobtrusive beetroot coloured flowers. Not all plants flower.


25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Berries larger than Rowan berries but smaller than cherries.


25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Flowers quite small and dark-red to beetroot in colour, easily over-looked amongst the prominent bright-green new foliage. Four petals, pointed at the tips.


25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 The centres of the flowers are green at first and shaped like the small nipples on clothes fasteners. They later turn towards a cream hue. Unopened buds are like split cotter pins. The petals have a tendency to curve outwards.


25th April 2010, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Inconspicuous female flowers at close range. Un-opened bud top left has a slightly differing shape than the male counterpart.


Sept 2002, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
New leaf growth without accompanying berries, but the dark flowers can just be discerned. Leaves are spotted with irregular-shaped golden-yellow blobs, as if spray-painted with a spluttering gun.


7th May 2010, a garden in Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 The petals bend over backwards revealing the translucent green stud in the centre shaped like the nipple part of a two-part clothing fastener. The flowers are on stubby stalks with a crimped node just a few millimeters below. The swelling below the petals may turn into the berry.


7th May 2010, a garden in Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Super-close-up. The flowers are not that large.


9th April 2013, Derelict Sec Mod School, Walkden, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
 Berries normally in small groups less than a dozen on any stalk.


22nd April 2013, Birch Road Co. Sec. Sch, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
 A male plant - male flower with four cream anthers. Un-opened flower buds of male flowers wider at the top..


22nd April 2013, Birch Road Co. Sec. Sch, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
 Cream-coloured pollen grains on creamy anthers contrast well with the four brown pointed petals.


22nd April 2013, Birch Road Co. Sec. Sch, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
 Male flower with pollen still within the anthers, trying to break out.


Some similarities to : Laurel, but that belongs to the Laurel Family rather than the Spotted-Laurel Family to which Spotted Laurel belongs.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The irregular golden splotches on the large light-green leaves.

No relation to : Spurge-Laurel which belongs to the Spurge Family nor to Cherry Laurel which belongs to the Rose Family [plants with similar names]

More likely to be found growing in a garden than growing wild. The plant is dioecious, with separate male and female flowers growing on different plants.

IRIDOID GLYCOGENS & THEIR AGLYCONES


Spotted Laurel is slightly toxic, containing the iridoid glycoside Aucubin. The aglycone of Aucubin, Aucubigenin, is liberated from Aucubin by enzymes within the plant which are released upon damage to the plant; this being a defensive mechanism from anything which dare eat it. When Spotted Laurel is consumed, the Aucubigenin is released which is then transformed by bacteria within the gut to the pyridine monoterpenes Aucubinine A and Aucubinine B. The main change has been the substitution of oxygen by nitrogen within the six-membered ring, and the removal of the hydrogen atom on the upper hydroxyl group.

Not to be confused with: Bog-Laurel, Spurge-Laurel, Mountain-Laurel or Portugal Laurel [plants with similar names].


  Aucuba japonica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Garryaceae  

Distribution
 family8Spotted-Laurel family8Garryaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Aucuba
Aucuba
(Spotted-Laurel)

SPOTTED LAUREL

GOLD DUST PLANT [America]

Aucuba japonica

Spotted-Laurel Family [Garryaceae]  

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