Apollon's laurel, noble Laurel, Bay, Lauris nobilis

tree of the family Lauraceae
(Avocado, Camphor laurel, Cinnamon, Sassafras).

Etymology: the name "laurel" comes from Latin "Laurus",
Origin: Southern Europe. The family Lauraceae includes 45 genera and about 1 100 species, spread in the tempered and subtropic regions, in Asia, in the countries of America overlooking the Atlantic and in Africa.
Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F).
Maximum size: 15 m tall.
Shape: ovoid, dense foliage.
Bark : black.
Dark green, tough, persistent leaves, wavy margins.
Flowers: green then yellow, symmetrical radiating, grouped in inflorescences; the elements of the calyx and of the corolla, disposed on two ranks, are alike.
Fruit : small black berry.
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, the nymph Daphné, followed by Apollon, is transformed into Laurel (her Greek name is daphne). In pythian Games (in memory of the snake Python which Apollon struck down), the victors received a laurel crown. In the Middle Ages we call "laureate" the one who passes examinations: he receives a laurel wreath not with leaves but with berries (bacca laurea) hence "Bachelor" literally "laurel bay".
Uses: its leaves contain essence and are used in the production of two essential oils with invigorating and diuretic properties. They also serve condiment as (in " sauces " and boiled beef). The bay supports pruning. For hedges, we prefer the Portuguese Cherry Laurel and the cherry laurel, which grow less tall. The noble Laurel grown in containers and pruned regularly serves as a garden decoration.


Portuguese Cherry Laurel, Prunus lusitanica

Cherrylaurel, Prunus laurocerasus

tree of the Rosaceae family, genus Prunus
(Apricot tree, Almond tree, Cherry, Cherrylaurel, Wild cherry tree, Peach, Cherry Plum).

Origin: Turkey, Armenia, brought by Pierre Belon in the XVIth century.
Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F).
Size : 6 m tall.
Persistent foliage. Tough leaves, of 12 cm oval, sharpened (bigger than those of the bay). They contain a toxic glucoside (cyanhydric acid, as the bitter almond).
Flowers in white, upright clusters, in April-May.
Use: the cherry laurel is used in hedge due to its persistent foliage and that it supports pruning.
The fruit of the cherry laurel contains a very dangerous poison.

Other "laurels" with no report between them:

Viburnum, Viburnum tinus

shrub of the family Caprifoliaceae (black Elder, Viburnum).
Rosebay, Nerium oleander.
shrub of the family Apocynaceae

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