Laurus is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family,
Lauraceae. The genus contains three or more species, including the
bay laurel or sweet bay, L. nobilis, widely cultivated as an
ornamental plant and a culinary herb.
3 Fossil history
5 Further reading
6 External links
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.
The number of species in the genus has not yet been fully resolved.
The following may or may not be included.
Azores Laurel is native to the Azores, and also
locally introduced in Cortegada Island, Spain. A
recent study found considerable genetic diversity within L. nobilis,
and that L. azorica is not genetically or morphologically distinct.
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
Laurus novocanariensis, formerly included in L. azorica.
Very old laurel trees on Madeira island
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Fossils dating from before the
Pleistocene glaciations show that
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 to retreat to
the mildest climate refuges, including southern Spain,
the Macaronesian islands. With the end of the last glacial period, L.
nobilis recovered some of its former range around the Mediterranean.
^ a b "The
Plant List: A Working List of All
^ 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 L.)". Euphytica. 122:
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 (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 Book: a Portable Dictionary of the
Vascular Plants. Second edition, pp. 393–394.
Photos of L. azorica