The Mediterranean Bay Laurel has only one other cousin in the species. This evergreen tree is highly valued for its aromatic leaves which are used as a culinary herb (Bay Leaf) for seasoning in many recipes. The foliage is glossy, dark to olive green and the flower is small and yellow.
The Laurel is a very adaptable plant and lends itself to many uses. It does well as a hedging plant, is fabulous for topiary, will grow hapily in a container or as a specimen tree. Shaping and trimming should be done in the summer. It is tolerant of coastal conditions, requires a sunny site in fertile soil and enjoys moisture.
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Bay Laurel was the source of the laurel victor’s wreath of ancient Greece, and gave birth to the expression of "resting on one's laurels". A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games. In the Bible, the ‘sweet-bay’ is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. It is also the source of the word baccalaureate (laurel berry), and of poet laureate which denotes recognition for excellence. In Chinese folklore there is a great laurel tree on the moon, and the Chinese name for the laurel, literally translates to "moon-laurel".
This is the subject of a story of Wu Gang, a man who aspired to immortality and neglected his work. When the deities discovered this they sentenced Wu Gang to fell the laurel tree, whereupon he could join the ranks of the deities; however, since the laurel regenerated immediately when cut, it could never be felled. The phrase "Wu Gang felling the tree" is sometimes used to refer to endless toil.
It is this very ability – to regenerate when cut – that makes this shrub such a good specimen for shaping.
This is a top 10 shrub which not only looks good it tastes good as well! The leathery dark green foliage is highly aromatic and popular for cooking. This same foliage clips extremely well making the 'Bay' perfect for hedging and topiary work. Easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 3m