Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis L.

The Bay laurel tree (species name: Laurus nobilis L.) is the tree that "Bay leaves" (used to give flavor to cooking dishes) come from.  It also goes by the common names "Sweet bay", "True laurel", "Laurel" as well as a few more that I am not aware of.  In this post I have tried to capture the beauty of the Bay laurel´s flowers as well as the general appearance of the tree and its leaves.  The image below is of the newly opening flowers.

 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.


  1. I would love to get some pollen from you the next time your tree flowers. I have a female Laurus nobilis with no nearby male, so never get any seed.

  2. hi...can u pliz help..i nid information about a Bauhinia biloba,i found it in our school grounds and im suposed to write a detailed report about of the tree wil be appreciated

  3. I do not believe that there is any tree species exists with the name "Bauhinia biloba". While there are about 200 species in the Bauhinia genus, none of them correspond to this name. Your tree is either a different member of the Bauhinia genus or perhaps it is a Ginkgo biloba. Here are a few links...
    Ginkgo biloba
    Hong Kong Orchid tree
    Purple Orchid tree

  4. Hi: I am an American in Europe (Amsterdam), and quite interested in the mediterranean bay laurel -- laurus nobilis. I wonder how it is different from the California bay laurel in my home country. I also am interested in perhaps harvesting some of the seeds to get the fatty oils from them. Can you tell me if any stands of trees in Spain are available for me to harvest seeds now? I understand this is the seeds-falling-on-ground time. Thanks!

  5. Hi: I am an American living in Amsterdam for several months. Are there any laurus nobilis trees in Spain that I could harvest seeds from this fall? If you know of any, I would make a trip down there. I am interested in extracting the fatty oils. I also want to be able to compare the laurus nobilis with the California bay laurel, and this is a good chance for me to experiment, since I'm in Europe for a while.