Ground bay leaves, however, can be ingested safely and are often used in soups and stocks, as well as being a common addition to a Bloody Mary.
 East Asia An early Chinese etiological myth for the phases of the moon involved a great forest or tree which quickly grew and lost its leaves and flowers every
Worldwide, many other kinds of plants in diverse families are also called “bay” or “laurel”, generally due to similarity of foliage or aroma to Laurus nobilis.
 The sprig grew into a full-size tree which fostered an entire grove of laurel trees, which were in turn added to by subsequent Emperors when they celebrated a triumph.
Finland The laurel leaves in the right side of the coat of arms of Kaskinen The laurel leaves in the coat of arms of Kaskinen, Finland (Swedish: Kaskö) may have been
meant to refer to local flowering, but its origin may also be in the name of the family Bladh (Swedish: blad; ‘leaf’); two members of the family – a father and a son – acquired both town rights and the status of staple town for the village
at the time.
However, in English, it is often associated with the more well-known cassia (Cinnamomum cassia, now known in Chinese as the 肉桂 or “meat gui”) while, in modern Chinese, it
has instead become associated with the Mediterranean laurel.
 Whole bay leaves are used almost exclusively as flavor agents during the food preparation stage.
The tree was originally identified as a 桂 (guì) and described in the terms of the osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans, now known in Chinese as the 桂花 or “gui flower”), whose blossoms
are still used to flavor wine and confections for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Human uses Food The plant is the source of several popular herbs and one spice used in a wide variety of recipes, particularly among Mediterranean cuisines.
 Bay laurel was used to fashion the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status.
However it is slow-growing and may take several years to reach the desired height.
 Chemical constituents The most abundant component found in laurel essential oil is 1,8-cineole, also called eucalyptol.
 The fruit is a small, shiny black berry-like drupe about 1 cm (3⁄8 in) long that contains one seed.
 Whole bay leaves have a long shelf life of about one year, under normal temperature and humidity.
 One of the most important pests affecting ornamental laurels is caused by Trioza alacris (Triozidae), which induces the curling and thickening of the edge of the leaves
for the development of the insect’s nymphs, eventually creating a necrosed gall.
 The genus Laurus includes four accepted species, whose diagnostic key characters often overlap.
It led ancient Romans to believe the plant was inhabited by a “heavenly fire demon”, and was therefore “immune” from outer threats like fire or lightning.
 Some accounts starting in the fourth century BC describe her as shaking a laurel branch while delivering her prophecies.
 It is also the source of the words baccalaureate and poet laureate, as well as the expressions “assume the laurel” and “resting on one’s laurels”.
 Rome’s second Emperor Tiberius wore wreaths of laurel whenever there was stormy weather because it was widely believed that Laurel trees were immune to lightning strikes,
affording protection to those who brandished it.
 Other versions of the myth, including that of the Roman poet Ovid, state that Daphne was transformed directly into a laurel tree.
Its common names include bay tree (esp.
It is used in topiary to create single erect stems with ball-shaped, box-shaped or twisted crowns; also for low hedges.
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/13020283@N03/7166644048/’]