Bay Laurel ( botanical name Laurus nobilis), belongs to the plant family Lauraceae It is also known as sweet bay, bay tree (esp. United Kingdom), true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel.
It is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is one of the plants used for bay leaf seasoning in cooking.
The laurel is dioecious (unisexual), with male and female flowers on separate plants. Each flower is pale yellow-green, about 1 cm diameter, and they are borne in pairs beside a leaf. The leaves are 6–12 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an entire (untoothed) margin. The fruit is a small, shiny berry about 1 cm long.
Container – Bay plants should be transplanted to a slightly larger container after purchasing. A plastic or organic container such as those made from rice are perfect. Be sure to place some rocks or pebbles at the bottom to aid in goo drainage.
Soil – A native of the dry, rocky slopes of Greece, bay is well adapted for life as a houseplant. It requires well-drained soil. A blend of one-half cactus mix and one-half potting soil works well, or add one part of sand to two parts of standard potting soil. If you are placing the bay tree into a container, add a little lime to balance out acidic soil.
Watering – Water regularly, allowing soil to dry for several days. Bay does not thrive in overly wet or excessively dry soil.
Fertilizer – Fertilize with general-purpose fertilizer in spring and summer. Bay is slow-growing, but once old enough (10 to 30 years), it will flower in spring, followed by small fruits that birds love.
Light Requirements – Light must be bright. Summer vacations on a shady porch will keep it healthy.
Varieties – There are dozens of Laurus nobilis varieties, but the nursery trade most commonly offers these four:
Where to Get Bay Laurel Plants By Mail…
Lore – The classical legend of bay’s origin was Daphne’s transformation into the laurel tree during her pursuit by Apollo. Versions vary; one infers that the nymph Daphne was a fiercely independent, rather wild creature and rather than give herself to Apollo, she pleaded with her father, the river god Ladonas, to transform her. Another account indicates that Apollo was wounded by an arrow of Eros (cupid) and fell madly in love with Daphne, who fled from his advances and was changed into the slender bay laurel moments before her capture. All agree that Apollo was so astounded by the tree’s beauty that he claimed the laurel as his own and dedicated it to reward the highest achievements of Greek civilization. Bay was first an herb of poets, but also of oracles, warriors, statesmen, and doctors. The leaves were made into wreaths for illustrious poets and the ancients used them to crown heroes.
Bay laurel was the symbol of wisdom, both acquired and intuitive. Laurus nobilis is believed to derive from the Celtic word laur meaning green and the Latin nobilis signifying noble. Baccalaureate is from the Latin for laurel berries, which were given to Greek students of the classical period. As bay is a narcotic and stimulant in large amounts, it was an important part of the Delphic rites. Apollo’s priestesses chewed bay before prophesying. Later, even placing bay leaves beneath pillows was thought to bring prescient dreams.
Since bay was so strongly associated with the gods and people of high esteem, it gained the reputation of protecting against all manner of natural and manmade disasters. Sorcerers and poisoners could not harm the person who carried bay. It was believed that lightning would not strike where bay was planted. The Caesars appropriated bay as their special protector against accidents and conspiracies. Though not notably successful, its efficacy in this field was maintained even in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Witches and devils were supposedly rendered helpless by it.
Adonis, Apollo, Aesculapius, Ceres, Cerridwen, Cupid, Daphne, Eros, Faunus, Ra, Vishnu
Clairvoyance, Protection, Purification, To induce Prophetic Dreams, Inspiration, Wishes – (write your wish on the leaf then burn it for it to come true.)