Laurus nobilus. Full to Partial Sun. Woody Evergreen shrub or tree. Height: up to 50 feet tall.
Woody stems of dark green leathery oval leaves bloom in the spring with small, creamy yellow flowers. Dark purple berries erupt after the flowers are gone.
In the Garden
Bay Trees love humus-rich, well drained soil in a sunny to partly sunny spot. Propagation from seed is difficult, layering is the preferred method and can take many months to develop roots. Where not hardy, Bay tree plants are perfect for containers: they can be trained as a standard or topiary. Fertilize in the spring. Highly susceptible to scale; spray with a summer horticultural oil. Protect from wind.
Harvest the leaves as needed for savory stocks, soups, stews, marinade, tomato sauces, shellfish boils, beans, grains and long-cooked meat dishes. Remove the leaves before serving as they have sharp edges. Wreath or potpourris add a nice aroma and decoration in the home. Around flour, rice or grains it tends to deter weevils. A leaf infusion taken internally can be used for relief of indigestion, poor appetite or flatulence. Externally, bay leafs in bath water allieviates muscle ache or joint pain. Can be used as a hair rinse for dandruff.