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Laurus
Laurus
is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. The genus contains three or more species,[1] including the bay laurel or sweet bay, L. nobilis, widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and a culinary herb.

Contents

1 Description 2 Species 3 Fossil history 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Description[edit] They are slow-growing, large, evergreen aromatic shrubs or trees with alternate, ovate leaves and insignificant yellow male and female flowers borne on separate plants (dioecious). They are frost-hardy but in temperate zones they require a sheltered spot in full sun that is not subject to prolonged freezing. Plants in pots can be moved into a cold greenhouse during the winter months.[2] Species[edit] The number of species in the genus has not yet been fully resolved. The following may or may not be included.[1]

Laurus
Laurus
azorica, Azores
Azores
Laurel is native to the Azores, and also locally introduced in Cortegada Island, Spain.[citation needed] A recent study found considerable genetic diversity within L. nobilis, and that L. azorica is not genetically or morphologically distinct.[3] Laurus
Laurus
nobilis, bay Laurel, true laurel, sweet bay, is used as an ornamental plant and culinary herb (one type of bay leaf) used in Mediterranean style dishes. It was also the original source of the laurel wreath of ancient Greece. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Laurus
Laurus
novocanariensis, formerly included in L. azorica.

Fossil history[edit]

Very old laurel trees on Madeira island

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Fossils dating from before the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
glaciations show that species of Laurus
Laurus
were formerly distributed more widely around the Mediterranean and North Africa, when the climate was more humid and mild than at present. It is currently thought that the drying of the Mediterranean basin during the glaciations caused Laurus
Laurus
to retreat to the mildest climate refuges, including southern Spain, Portugal
Portugal
and the Macaronesian islands. With the end of the last glacial period, L. nobilis recovered some of its former range around the Mediterranean. References[edit]

^ a b "The Plant
Plant
List: A Working List of All Plant
Plant
Species".  ^ Brickell, Christopher, ed. (2008). The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 612. ISBN 9781405332965.  ^ Arroyo–García, R.; Martínez–Zapater, J. M.; Fernández Prieto, J. A.; Álvarez-Arbesú, R. (2001). "AFLP evaluation of genetic similarity among laurel populations ( Laurus
Laurus
L.)". Euphytica. 122: 155–164. doi:10.1023/A:1012654514381. 

Further reading[edit]

Arroyo-García, R., Martínez-Zapater, J.M., Fernández Prieto, J.A., & Álvarez-Arbesú R. (2001). AFLP evaluation of genetic similarity among laurel populations. Euphytica 122 (1): 155-164. Barbero, M., Benabid, A., Peyre, C. & Quezel, P. (1981). Sur la presence au Maroc de Laurus azorica
Laurus azorica
(Seub.) Franco. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 37 (2): 467-472. Available online (pdf file; in French). Costa, J. C., Capelo, J., Jardim, R., Sequeira, M., (2004). Catálogo Florístico do Arquipélago da Madeira. Quercetea 6, 187-200. Mabberley, D.J (1997). The Plant
Plant
Book: a Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants. Second edition, pp. 393–394.

External links[edit]

Photos of L. azorica

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q21188 APDB: 191988 EoL: 61708 EPPO: 1LURG FoC: 117749 Fossilworks: 56017 GBIF: 2988444 GRIN: 6564 ITIS: 18177 NCBI: 85222 PLANTS: LAURU Tropic

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