Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Trees & Shrubs

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Description

Bay Laurel, also called Sweet bay or just Laurel, is a small tree that can reach lengths of about 10 meters. The Bay Laurel has branches that are erect and lead to rigid and leathery leaves growing on the shorter branch-like parts. The leaves are elliptical-lanceolate and the fruit is a small drupe, vaguely resembling an olive. The plant is dioecious, meaning it often has distinct variations in male and female plants. The flowers are yellowish-green and they grow in pairs next to the leaves.

Habitat

The Bay laurel is widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. It often grows among the warmer, lower parts of mountains. It is found all throughout Greece.

Protection status

This species is listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List.

Interesting facts

This species was used to make a crown for Apollo, the Greek god of music, the sun, truth and medicine. In the ancient times, these types of crowns were used to celebrate victors of athletic competitions and musical performances. In the Bible, Jesus Christ, when his crucifixion on Golgotha happens, gets one of these crowns to mock his claim as the son of God.

Bay laurel leaves are used in various dishes for their aroma and health related properties.

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