The Bay laurel is one of those trees that has a tendency to become a small dense thicket. This is due to the fact that it tends to send up multiple stems right from the base. The trees below are continually cut back but you can still see the active growth of new stems at the base.
The leaves of the Bay laurel occur alternately on the branch and have a simple to Lanceolate shape with a smooth (entire) margin. One way to identify a Bay laurel is by rubbing the leaf and smelling the sweet aromatic tone that is characteristic of the leaves and the flavor that it gives to cooking.
The flowers of the Bay laurel and a pale yellow color although they tend to fade and brown fairly quickly.
The flowers occur towards the end of the terminal branches interspersed between the last dozen leaves or so.
The following is an old (out of copyright) illustration of the main characteristics of the Bay laurel.