Bay laurel forming new leaves, April 2014
It's interesting how the bay laurel's leaves emerge in a tight clump, then are spaced by branch growth as they mature.

Bay laurel

Laurus nobilis

I love useful plants, and bay laurel is definitely useful in the kitchen garden of a Louisiana cook. Bay leaves make all the difference in red beans, gumbo, and so much more. 

 

The bay tree, or Laurus nobilis, comes to us from the eastern Mediterranean, specifically, the dry, rocky slopes of Greece. Ovid said the laurel tree was created from the body of the beautiful numph Daphne. Athletic champions were crowned with a wreath of bay laurel. 

 

I started my bay laurel as a seedling from a nursery, and for a couple of years I despaired that it would never grow beyond that size. When its root system got strong enough, however, it took off, and is now a lovely small tree. 

 

To learn more:

 

Flower Power: Bay Laurel

 

Herb Society of America Fact Sheet